143 poachers and 8 foreign dinghies apprehended during 2007

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Port Blair, Jan 31 (UNI) At least 143 poachers and eight foreign dinghies have been apprehended from the Andaman and Nicobar maritime zone during the past year, Coast Guard (CG) Commander Inspector General S P Sharma said here today.

Speaking on the occasion of the CG's 31st anniversary, Mr Sharma voiced concern over the increasing poaching activities in the islands.

''The Coast Guard (CG) assures the people that it would continue discharging its responsibility of protecting the country's maritime zones with vigilance, valour and professionalism,'' he said.

''The CG ships and aircrafts maintain a constant vigil and surveillance in the Andaman Sea and are always alert and ready to meet any contingency, be it any natural disaster, poaching by foreign fishing vessels, saving lives at sea, guarding the flora and fauna of these ecologically sensitive islands against marine pollution or assisting the scientific community in collection of important data,'' the CG commander said.

He informed that the poachers were mainly from Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand.

He added that the CG had saved 63 lives in 34 operations during 2007.

Mr Sharma also announced that two new CG bases will be established at Hut Bay and Kamorta by the end of this year.

''A proposal for establishment of a new station at Mayabunder is also in the pipeline,'' he said.

UNI SKR DPM KLC1535

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