The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday arrested a group of fisherman in Greater Kaohsiung for fishing with cyanide and confiscated 1,075kg of the highly toxic chemical.
The five suspects were sent to the Yunlin District Prosecutors’ Office for violating the Fisheries Act (漁業法) and fraudulently selling their catch, the coast guard said.
A special coast guard task force in Chiayi County caught the suspects dividing 232kg of fish in Chiayi County’s Dongshi Township (東勢).
The raid was launched after the administration’s Central Coastal Patrol Office received a tip from local residents that people were fishing with cyanide in the waters off Yunlin and Chiayi counties.
Coast guard personnel said the group would dump the poison into the ocean during high tide and then scoop up the unconscious fish. They would then sell the fish to a broker surnamed Hsu (許), who in turn sold the fish to consumers and fish vendors.
The group has been distributing poisonous fish since December, according to the group’s order records, but it is difficult to determine how much poisonous fish has entered the market because the suspects have so far refused to divulge any information, the task force said.
To avoid purchasing poisonous fish, the public should not buy fish with sunken eyes or discolored bodies, the task force said. In addition, cyanide has a slight almond scent, so the public should watch out for fish having such a smell.
If 1,075kg of cyanide had been dumped into the sea, it would have claimed many human lives and killed off most of the marine life in the ocean off Yunlin and Chiayi, the administration said.