4 December 2012

Border Protection Command (BPC) together with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has apprehended a foreign fishing vessel suspected of illegally fishing within Australian waters.

On Saturday 1 December, a BPC Dash 8 surveillance aircraft detected the vessel approximately 50 nautical miles east of Ashmore Islands and within the Australian Fishing Zone.

ACV Arnhem Bay, operating under the control of BPC, intercepted the vessel.

Five crew were detained and 20 kilograms of fish, including 12 different species of reef fish, were seized.

Commander BPC, Rear Admiral David Johnston, said “Illegal foreign fishing is a serious issue and BPC, working with AFMA, are committed to enforcing Australian laws within our maritime zones.”

AFMA General Manager Operations Peter Venslovas said that preventing illegal foreign fishing was about maintaining the sustainability of Australian fish stocks.

“AFMA tackles illegal foreign fishing in a number of ways – we cooperate with other governments in the region, we run education programs in Indonesia and we apprehend suspected illegal vessels in partnership with BPC and prosecute those fishers who have done the wrong thing.”

The vessel and crew will arrive in Darwin today. AFMA will now further investigate the activities of the vessel and may lay charges against the crew.

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