7 June 2018

A shipment of live mud crabs suspected of being taken illegally was seized by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) in the Torres Strait at Horn Island Airport on 30 May 2018.

Originating from an outer island in the Torres Strait and destined for Cairns, AFMA officers found 141 live mud crabs in the shipment.

It is alleged that the consignment had been received by an un-licenced fish receiver, an offence under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984.

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said it was important for operators to follow the rules so that fish stocks remain sustainable now and into the future.

“Conditions, such as the requirement to be a licenced fish receiver and to report catches, are in place to ensure there is an accurate source of data to better inform management decisions,” Mr Venslovas said.

“AFMA takes non-compliance very seriously and is conducting an investigation into the matter.

“The vast majority of Commonwealth commercial fishing operators do the right thing and comply with the rules.

“Fishing is an important and historic activity for communities in the Torres Strait, so ensuring fisheries are sustainable and well managed is crucial to the livelihoods of generations of fishers.

“We will continue to monitor operators and where we observe pockets of non-compliance, action will be taken.”

The live catch was returned to the sea by AFMA officers, assisted by the Queensland Police.

If you become aware of any suspicious behaviour or illegal fishing practices, you can report these to AFMA online at CRIMFISH or by calling the CRIMFISH hotline on 1800 274 634, or call AFMA on Thursday Island on 07 4069 1990.