Joint media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force

Yesterday in the Darwin Local Court, an Indonesian fisher was fined $4,000 after pleading guilty to offences for illegally fishing in Australian waters.

The master and his crew were spotted 80 nautical miles inside Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by an Australian Border Force (ABF) surveillance aircraft on 7 November 2018. The aircraft was tasked by the Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency task force within the ABF.

They were subsequently intercepted and boarded by officers aboard ABF Cutter Cape Jervis. The fishers’ unseaworthy vessel could not be towed safely to shore and was destroyed at sea.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) carried out further investigations which led to the master being convicted and fined.

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said the fishers are paying the price for operating illegally in Australian waters.

“The fines and the loss of the vessel should send a message to others that any attempt to fish illegally in Australian waters will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly,” Mr Venslovas said.

“Protecting Australia’s world-class fisheries from threats like illegal foreign fishing will continue to be a top priority for AFMA and other government agencies in order to ensure the sustainability of our fish stocks.

“The dramatic reduction in illegal foreign fishing, from an all-time high of 367 in a 12-month period in the mid-2000s to only two since 1 July 2018, is the result of a determined and enduring campaign by Australian authorities.”

Commander Maritime Border Command, Rear Admiral Peter Laver, said the result demonstrates the effectiveness of the multi-agency approach to keeping Australian waters safe.

“We are monitoring our waters 24/7 for any sign of illegal activity and our dedicated maritime officers spend weeks at a time at sea to detect and respond to that activity when it occurs”, Rear Admiral Laver said.

“Australia’s waters are vast but we have a world class fleet of ABF and Australian Defence Force assets at our disposal and anyone engaging in this activity should always assume we are nearby and we are watching.”

Anyone who witnesses or has information about illegal fishing in Australian waters should report it at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. You can remain anonymous.

 

ENDS

Media contacts:

Australian Fisheries Management Authority 0437 869 860 or media [at] afma.gov.au

Australian Border Force (02) 6264 2244 or media [at] abf.gov.au