Operation Jodari began in January 2018 and is a partnership with the government of Tanzania to help in the fight against illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. The campaign is supported by Fish-i Africa, a partnership of eight East African countries including Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Somalia. Law enforcement officials from the Deep Sea Fishing Authority, the Tanzanian Navy, and the Multi-Agency Task Team (MATT) are stationed on board the M/V Ocean Warrior, along with Sea Shepherd crewmembers. These officials have the authority to board, inspect, and arrest vessels in violation of Tanzanian law. Since the patrols began, ten arrests have been made.

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Local Dhow Arrests

The first arrest was of a Chinese-flagged vessel found with a cargo of shark fins that greatly outnumbered the amount of shark bodies, a violation of Tanzanian law. The crew stated that they had been refused food and water, and were forced to sleep in a small area of floor. The second vessel, flagged to Malaysia, was also arrested due to the possession of shark fins, and was found to be discarding sharks overboard. The crew reported that the captain had threatened them with a gun, and that if no fish were caught in a day they would not be fed.  The last vessel was flagged to Tanzania, and was found to fishing without a license, as well as in possession of shark fins.

All three vessels are being held in port for legal action on the grounds of shark finning and labor abuses.

Small Boat Inspecting Tai Hong 1
Small Boat Inspecting Tai Hong 1

Following these arrests, 24 vessels immediately departed Tanzanian waters, 19 of which did so before receiving the mandatory inspections. This signals that they were most likely participating in illegal activity, and wanted to evade capture. The government of Tanzania has levied fines totaling 19 billion Tanzanian shillings (6,865,160 euros) against these ships. These three arrests made by Sea Shepherd and Tanzanian authorities have helped to prevent much more illegal activity.

Since the arrest of these vessels, there has been little to no observed fishing activity in Tanzanian waters. Thus, the M/Y Ocean Warrior spent two weeks monitoring an infamous smuggling route, as illegal fishing is often done in conjunction with crimes like smuggling.

During the course of the patrols, seven dhows (traditional cargo boats) were arrested for smuggling illegal cargoes of mangrove timber to be sold on the black market. Mangroves are strictly protected in Tanzanian waters, as they are critical habitats for many of the species that live there. All seven dhows were forfeited, their cargo confiscated, and their captains arrested.