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

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) in partnership with Maritime Border Command (MBC), continues to target illegal foreign fishing in Australian waters to protect our precious marine resources.

Over the past three weeks, three Indonesian fishing vessels have been intercepted and apprehended by Australian patrol assets for fishing illegally in waters off Western Australia.

These fishing vessels were targeting sea cucumber and shark fin, both lucrative products within Asian markets. The fishing vessels, catch and assorted fishing gear were disposed of after being seized.

The catch totalled more than 550kg of sea cucumber and 45 shark fins.

The 21 fishers were brought into Darwin, where they appeared in the Darwin Local Court, and were each found guilty of offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and fined a total of $29,100.

One of the Judges presiding over the matters noted in sentencing the need to impose a deterrence for this type of offending given the number of cases which had come before the Court in the last few months. The fishers have been repatriated back to Indonesia.

Mr Wez Norris, AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer, noted that “Australia’s well-managed fisheries are a target for illegal fishers, and such activity undermines the sustainability of Australia’s marine stocks for future generations”.

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Justin Jones said this result should send a clear signal to those seeking to exploit Australia’s sovereign resources.

“Australia has no tolerance for illegal fishing, and these prosecutions by AFMA demonstrate our strong stance against it,” RADM Jones said.

Maritime Border Command is a multi-agency task force utilising Australian Border Force and Australian Defence Force assets.

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