27 February 2018

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force

Officers from the Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) have carried out a joint patrol of Australia’s east coast, using their combined expertise to detect and deter civil maritime security threats.

Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Fourcroy was tasked by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the ABF, to visit a number of ports along the east coast to meet with stakeholders and discuss important matters relating to marine protection.

Officers from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Australian Border Force and the Royal Australian Navy on board ADV Cape Fourcroy

Commander MBC Rear Admiral Peter Laver said the patrol provided an opportunity to gather intelligence and work closely with our partners, stakeholders and the broader community to inform them about what suspicious activity to look out for and how to report it.

“Local knowledge is a great source and is perfectly placed to recognise signs of illegal fishing, prohibited imports and other criminal attempts to breach our borders,” Rear Admiral Laver said.

“Our officers spend weeks at a time at sea, quite often out of view of the general public, but patrols like this allow us to demonstrate that no matter where you are around the Australian coast, we are never far away.”

ADV Cape Fourcroy Commanding Officer Lieutenant Ken Brown said the multi-agency patrol was a great way to foster collaboration and his crew was ready to tackle any civil maritime security threat.

“The opportunity to share our intelligence and operational expertise is invaluable to our work and increases Australia’s capability to disrupt illegal activity in our waters, whether it be foreign fishing, drug smuggling or any other civil maritime security threat,” Lieutenant Brown said.

“This was a great chance to showcase what we do and assure the Australian people that we are out on the seas, patrolling and protecting our waters and securing Australia’s borders.”

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said that collaboration between Australian authorities is paramount to ensuring the future of Australia’s marine life.

“AFMA works closely with other government agencies including ABF and the ADF on activities like deploying fisheries officers on joint patrols to further our work in deterring and combatting illegal foreign fishing,” Mr Venslovas said.

“Protecting the marine environment from threats of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activity is one of our main priorities.”

The vessel departed Cairns on 8 February 2018 and has visited ports including Bundaberg, Coffs Harbour, Sydney, and Brisbane.

Anyone with information about suspicious behaviour relating to activities such as illegal immigration, customs or border-related activities can report it online at homeaffairs.gov.au/borderwatch. You can provide information anonymously.

Media enquiries:  

Australian Fisheries Management Authority 0437 869 860 or media@afma.gov.au

Australian Border Force (02) 6264 2244