AR-News: Southern ocean hunt for ship with cargo of endangered toothfish

jim robertson wolfcrest at
Wed Aug 20 17:37:54 EDT 2003

Southern ocean hunt for ship with cargo of endangered toothfish

John Vidal, environment editor
Tuesday August 19, 2003
The Guardian

South Africa joined a dramatic international hunt for an Uruguayan fishing 
vessel yesterday which is believed to have illegally poached millions of 
pounds worth of rare Patagonian toothfish in Australian waters.
The Viarsa, which has ignored repeated radio orders, has been hunted for 
more than 1,000 miles, mostly through snowstorms and strong gales, by the 
Australian customs ship Southern Supporter.

It is one of the most dangerous and tenacious maritime pursuits for years.

The Australian authorities insisted yesterday that they would not give up 
the chase, which began 10 days ago after the Viarsa was spotted near Heard 
Island, one of the richest known grounds for the endangered fish.

It is skirting icebergs as it flees west across the Southern Ocean in 
mountainous seas.

Last night it was understood that the chase had reached South African 
waters, and that the Viarsa was 1,380 miles south of Cape Town. The Southern 
Supporter is now working with the South African environment ministry, which 
sent the research ship SA Agulhas, a helicopter-equipped icebreaker, to 
intercept the Viarsa yesterday.

Last night Ian Macdonald, the Australian fisheries minister, said the Viarsa 
was suspected of carrying a full load of toothfish.

"We will do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes, to see that the 
vessel is thoroughly investigated," he said. His spokesman added: "South 
Africa has expressed a willingness to help us and we are working with other 
countries, too, to stop this boat."

Full story:,3604,1021383,00.html

"If you believe in evolution by natural selection, how can you believe that 
feelings suddenly appeared, out of the blue, with human beings?"
Steven Siviy,     Behavioral Scientist

<b>Help protect your PC:</b> Get a free online virus scan at

More information about the AR-News mailing list