DAKAR Jan 5 Senegal has seized a Russian trawler fishing illegally in its waters, the fisheries minister said on Sunday, as it seeks to curb heavy losses from fish poaching.
The trawler, the Oleg Naydenov, was captured on Saturday near the maritime border with Guinea-Bissau with 50 crew onboard, most of them from Russia or Guinea-Bissau, Fisheries Minister Haidar El Ali said.
Illegal fishing, mostly by trawlers from the former Soviet bloc, costs Senegal 120 billion CFA francs ($250 million) a year, according to official figures.
"The trawler was fishing within Senegalese waters and was seized," Ali told Reuters by telephone.
The trawler, which has been impounded in the port of Dakar, will be heavily fined and its fishing material seized in conformity with Senegalese law, the minister said, adding that it was the third time this trawler had been fined.
Russia's state television channel Rossiya 24 said Russian diplomats in Dakar would meet Senegalese President Macky Sall on Sunday to discuss the matter. A spokesman for the Senegalese presidency was not immediately available. ($1 = 481.8430 CFA francs) (Reporting by Diadie Ba; Editing by Kevin Liffey)