The Russian authorities released five Japanese fishing vessels earlier detained for fishing violations off the southern part of the Kuril Islands, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday citing an attorney to the sailors.
A court on the Kunashir Island ordered the Japanese fishermen to pay a fine, TASS reports.
The press service of the Russian Border Guards department in the Sakhalin Region said the captains of the five ships were sentenced to fines totalling 6.4 million rubles (over $100,000 at the current exchange rate).
According to Russian border guards, their catch of octopus exceeded the amounts stated in logbooks by 7.5 tonnes.
The crews paid the fine in full and were released. They had already left the Yuzhno-Kurilsk sea terminal, border guards said.
The five Japanese fishing ships were detained and escorted to the Kunashir Island for inspection on December 17. According to the TBS TV channel, there were 24 sailors on board.
The Japanese government described the detention as inadmissible, based on its opinion on the sovereignty over the Southern Kuril Islands. It called for soonest release of the ships and their crew out of humanitarian considerations.
The Kyodo news agency said, citing Japan’s fishery authority, that the detained vessels were catching octopus in the area in line with a bilateral agreement.