7 August 2013
composite image showing the AFMA officer during the PNG visit

TOP: Treaty Awareness Visit delegation | Bottom Left: AFMA Officer at village meeting | Bottom Right: Newly ID’d vessel

An AFMA officer went to Papua New Guinea (PNG) with a number of other government agencies as part of the Treaty Awareness Visit program. Under this program, Australian and PNG government agencies meet with people from the 13 PNG Torres Strait Treaty Villages, situated along the Southern Coastline of Western Province, PNG.

We were there to discuss traditional fishing rights under the Torres Strait Treaty and the recent changes to fisheries law.  The treaty between Australia and PNG gives traditional inhabitants of the area the ability to move freely from their village to villages on the Australian side of the treaty area and vice versa. This is usually for visiting relatives, trading, and traditional hunting of things like fish and crab.  It’s important that the PNG villagers are aware of the different rules and requirements when visiting Australian waters.

Our officers also followed-up on the AFMA Traditional Vessel Identification scheme and now approximately 90% of all vessels in the area have Treaty Village ID stickers. These stickers help us and our partner agencies monitor the movements of fishing vessels under the Treaty arrangements, detect and apprehend of illegal fishing vessels in the Torres Strait Protected Zone and assist Search and Rescue operations for PNG vessels in Australian waters. During the visit, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority also donated a total of 1,500 lifejackets to the villagers.

For more information, contact John Davis, Senior Manager, Compliance Operations (Darwin) on 08 8943 0354 or john.davis@afma.gov.au.