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Iran arrests 21 trespassing fishermen in Persian Gulf

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian security and judicial officials surveying an impounded vessel that had illegally entered Iran's southern waters and its catch of rare species of fish. (Photos by IRNA)

Iran has detained 21 crew members of three fishing boats in the Persian Gulf for illegally entering the country’s territorial waters.

The coastguard commander for Iran’s southern Kish Island, Colonel Rahim Jahanbakhsh, said on Monday that the dhows, belonging to the Arab littoral states of the Persian Gulf, had been seized after trespassing on the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters and fishing rare and endangered species.

He added that the vessels had illegally sailed 12 kilometers into southern Iranian territorial waters and were fishing, in particular for a rare shark species.

He said the fishermen had been handed over to judicial officials and would be dealt with in accordance with the Islamic Republic’s law governing environmental protection.

The Iranian maritime official further added that the country detained 12 foreign boats that had illegally entered its territorial waters for fishing purposes in recent months and said all their crew members are currently in detention based on judicial orders.

Jahanbakhsh said Iran closely monitors all movements in its territorial waters, particularly in the Persian Gulf, in a bid to preserve marine life and at the same time ensure security of the country’s sea borders.

Under Iran's law, fishing for rare marine creatures carries hefty cash fines.

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