24 May 2013

AFMA is preparing for its third ‘Operation VMS crackdown’ to make sure Commonwealth fishers are abiding by the rules for sustainable fishing.

During June, following the success of similar campaigns, a zero tolerance approach will be taken to non-compliance with VMS requirements, in particular to have a working VMS.

Any boat with a VMS unit that stops reporting during the crackdown will be ordered to stop fishing immediately and be sent back to port until AFMA is satisfied that the boat’s monitoring system is working and being used responsibly.

If any fishers are found to be operating illegally they may be fined and prosecuted. Since 2007 it has been mandatory for all Commonwealth fishing boats to have the monitoring systems in place. This system allows AFMA to track fishing boats by GPS and satellite in real time.

VMS is an essential tool for the sustainable management of Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries as it helps police closed areas, in turn ensuring healthy fish stocks and protecting the rights of fishing operators.

Australia has the third largest fishing zone in the world and with this technology AFMA is able to track and monitor every one of the Australia Commonwealth fishing boats in any part of the fishing zone and even on the high seas.

For more information please contact Tod Spencer, Senior Manager National Compliance Strategy on (02) 6225 5312 or tod.spencer [at] afma.gov.au.