In April, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) successfully hosted the 9th Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Sub-Regional (Arafura and Timor Seas) Group meeting in Cairns. Delegates attended from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Australia. Key matters discussed included illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing issues impacting the region and MCS measures undertaken to combat these within each respective national jurisdiction.
The Sub-Regional (Arafura and Timor Seas) Group is one of three sub-regional groups established under the auspices of the Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices including Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (RPOA-IUU) in the South-east Asian Region. The other two are the Sub-Regional Southern and Eastern China Sea and Sulu-Sulawesi Seas and the Sub-Regional Gulf of Thailand.
Outcomes from the meeting included the development of a 2019 Action Plan which includes MCS actions such as coordinated joint patrols and information sharing to be implemented throughout the coming year. AFMA looks forward to continuing the effective engagement with our close neighbors to collaborate in detecting and deterring IUU fishing in the Timor and Arafura seas.