Indonesian traditional fishers, using traditional fishing methods only, are permitted to operate in an area of about 50,000km2 of Australian waters in the Timor Sea, known as the MoU Box.
The MoU Box is managed in accordance with a bilateral agreement between the Australian and Indonesian Governments, promoting fisheries and marine cooperation between Australia and Indonesia.
Access is granted in recognition of the long history of traditional Indonesian fishing in the area and is limited to Indonesian fishers using traditional vessels without motors or engines, or any form of fishing using motors or engines.
What you need to know
All Indonesian fishers must follow Australian laws when accessing the MoU Box.
Fishing within the MoU Box is regulated by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. Harsh penalties apply to those fishers who do not comply with the rules.
Indonesian fishers must follow the rules and respect the Australian Marine Park zones within the MoU Box.
Australian authorities monitor the MoU Box and all Indonesian visitors must cooperate with Australian authorities.
If you do not comply, your boat, gear and catch may be seized and you may be detained and face prosecution in Australia.
Breaking the rules is not worth the risk
The MoU Box is located within the Australian Fishing Zone and the continental shelf adjacent to Ashmore Reef, Cartier Island, Scott Reef, Seringapatam Reef and Browse Island.
Approximately 200 nautical miles north of Broome, Australia and approximately 60 nautical miles south of the Island of Rote, Indonesia.
For detailed coordinates refer to Australian Fisheries Enforcement Arrangements in the Timor and Arafura Seas.
Indonesian fishers are permitted to fish within the MoU Box using traditional fishing methods only. Indonesian fishers must not fish using methods or vessels using motors or engines.
Indonesian fishers cannot use fishing methods or vessels assisted by motors or engines anywhere within the fishing zone.
Indonesian fishers must not use
- motorised, powered boats
- air compressors or compressed air breathing equipment
- any other fishing method using motors or engines
Indonesian fishers must not
- catch or kill any turtles or birds anywhere,
- collect any turtle or bird eggs anywhere,
- go ashore on land unless permitted or it is an emergency, e.g., during bad weather,
- enter Australian Marine Park Sanctuary Zone (pink zone) except in an emergency - all fish and gear must be stowed and secured
Traditional fishing by Indonesian fishers within the MOU box is restricted to traditional boats and fishing methods which do not use motors or engines.
Traditional fishing methods include line fishing or free-diving for hand collection of sedentary species without the use of compressed air breathing equipment or any other fishing equipment with motors or engines.
Australian Marine Parks are an area of sea (which may include land, the seabed and subsoil under the sea) established by law for the protection and maintenance of biological diversity and of natural and cultural resources.
Marine Park Zones and rules for activities in marine parks help to achieve a positive outcome for the environment by protecting important marine habitats and support sustainable fishing.
Specific rules apply for the Ashmore Reef Marine Park and Cartier Island Marine Park zones which are both within the MoU Box.
Sanctuary Zone (pink)
Indonesian fishers may only access a sanctuary zone (pink zone) if it is an emergency, e.g., during dangerous weather.
All fish and fishing gear must be kept stowed and secured when in these zones.
Recreational use zone (orange)
Indonesian fishers may access a recreational use zone for the following reasons only:
- shelter at designated moorings;
- go ashore for freshwater and visit grave sites; and/or.
- fish for subsistence purposes only.