posted on by Kim Morrissy
Radio Aomori Broadcasting reported last Wednesday that nine men were apprehended for illegal fishing at the Yomogita Harbor in Aomori Prefecture on March 8. The men had allegedly poached 800 kilograms of sea cucumbers, worth approximately 3.2 million yen (US$28,900), from a six-meter long leisure boat.
The news has attracted attention online due to the name of the boat: “Going Merry.” One Piece fans may recognize that as the name of the first ship owned by the Straw Hat Pirates. According to pop culture outlet Grapee, various reactions to the news included “How funny to see a ship with that name involved in illegal fishing,” “I know I shouldn’t laugh… but I couldn’t hold back,” and “Unlike One Piece, these are bad pirates.”
The suspects were men between 29 to 56 years of age. The Japan Coast Guard and the police caught five of the men in the act and arrested them on the spot. The other four men escaped from the scene and were arrested 17-23 days later.
The arrest marks the first time the Aomori Prefecture has enacted a penalty under its toughened fishing laws. The penalty for illegal fishing ranges from 2 million (US$18,000) to 30 million yen (US$270,900).