Chinese captain detained over unauthorized fishing

The Japanese Fisheries Agency has ratcheted up tensions with China with its announcement it has arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat on suspicion he was engaged in unauthorized fishing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone off Kyushu.

The 48-year-old skipper of the 500-ton vessel carrying 18 crew members was arrested Saturday after a patrol boat spotted the boat fishing in the area.  He was released Sunday after posting a cash collateral bail, but the Chinese vessel has been seized.

Authorities say the vessel’s crew was spotted Saturday morning about 7:30 a.m., 100 kilometers west of Goto in the Goto Island chain in Nagasaki Prefecture.  The men were catching tachiuo fish, also known as hairtail, with a fish-collecting lamp and net.

Tensions with Japan are already running high over challenges in the Senkaku Islands region of the East China Sea in Okinawa Prefecture.  Japan fueled that tension with its nationalization of several small uninhabited Senkaku Islands.