Tuesday, December 24, 2019

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

The masters and one crew member of two Indonesian fishing vessels, apprehended less than a week apart in Australian waters, have been convicted in the Darwin Local Court for offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

Late last week, the master and one crew member of a vessel apprehended on 10 December 2019, off north western Australia, received individual fines of $2,500 for the master and $500 for the crew member.

On Monday, the master of a vessel apprehended on 15 December 2019, entered guilty pleas to two charges. The vessel was sighted north of the Gulf of Carpentaria with in excess of 14 tonnes of fresh and frozen shark and finfish on board. The master was convicted and fined a total of $10,000.

Both vessels were sighted in Australian waters by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce in the Australian Border Force, and were apprehended in joint operations with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

In addition to fines, both vessels were confiscated and destroyed.

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, stressed the importance of prosecuting illegal foreign fishers.

“All illegal fishing is a threat to the sustainability and health of Australia’s well managed Commonwealth fisheries and it is important that we catch and penalise those who try to undermine our efforts” Mr Venslovas said.

“Since 2005, AFMA, in cooperation with other Australian Government agencies, has worked hard to drastically reduce the number of illegal foreign vessels in Australian waters from over 350 in 2005-06 to just four in the last six months. Despite this there still are those who will try their hand at targeting Australian waters.”

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, CSC, RAN said he welcomed these convictions and the message it sent to others considering illegal activities in Australian waters.

 “The successful prosecutions of those looking to profit off our unique marine environment sends a strong message to others who may seek to do the same,” Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Lee Goddard

 “It’s important that strong measures are taken to ensure the health of our oceans for current and future generations.”

Illegal fishing activity in Australian waters can be reported to Australian authorities by contacting CRIMFISH on 1800 274 634 or intelligence [at] afma.gov.au. More information can be found at afma.gov.au.

ENDS

Media contacts: Australian Border Force (02) 6264 2244

                            Australian Fisheries Management Authority 0437 869 860