Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection
The results of reckless fishing practices have been highlighted after a number of marine animals were found deceased in two ghost nets retrieved approximately 40 nautical miles north of the Tiwi Islands and 190 nautical miles north west of Darwin respectively.
The ghost nets were spotted by a Dash-8 aircraft as part of regular surveillance by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), made up of officers from the ABF and the Australian Defence Force.
HMAS Ararat retrieved the ghost nets, which contained dead marine species, including three dolphin fish, three skeletons believed to be from dolphins, two turtles, nine Blacktip reef sharks, one crab and a number of small reef fish.
The nets, one weighing approximately 2.1 tonnes and the other approximately 3.6 tonnes were taken to Darwin to be disposed of by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).
AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said ghost nets are lost or abandoned fishing nets that drift in the ocean, entangling and slowly killing marine life such as turtles, dugongs, seabirds, dolphins and other fish species.
“We all need to do our part to keep our oceans free from marine debris and rubbish, from ghost nets to plastic bags and general rubbish,” Mr Venslovas said.
Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Peter Laver, said protecting Australia’s vast maritime domain from pollution is one of MBC’s key objectives.
“As we’ve seen in this instance, these nets are incredibly damaging to our unique maritime environment and it’s an important part of our operations to locate and remove them,” Rear Admiral Laver said.
“Sadly we see a number of these nets floating in our waters and we work closely with our counterparts at AFMA to locate, remove and destroy them to stop them causing any further damage.”
Australian Fisheries Management Authority 0437 869 860
Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244