Monday, January 7, 2008

Croatia seizes Italian boat days after fishery zone comes into force

"The Croatian navy seized an Italian fishing vessel that was 'illegally present' on Thursday (January 3rd), two days after declaring a protected fishing zone in its territorial waters.

Police spokeswomen Zeljka Radosevic said the trawler crew was fishing near a remote island in Croatian waters and not inside the new Croatian Ecological and Fisheries Protected Zone (ZERP), which extends to the middle of the Adriatic.

Radosevic said the boat was escorted to a port on the island of Vis for investigation. She added that the three crew members would appear before a judge and would probably be fined. It was not immediately clear what impact this incident would have on Croatia's ongoing dispute with Italy and Slovenia over the fishing zone, which the EU has also warned against.

Croatia held general elections in late November. Because the new government has not been formed, the zone was enacted automatically based on laws previously passed.

Diplomats have been unable to make progress on the issue due to the slow pace of forming the new coalition cabinet."


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