Illegal fishers sentenced in Darwin

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

Eight crew members from two Indonesian fishing vessels, intercepted on 17 and 23 November 2022, have been convicted in the Darwin Local Court for offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

The illegal fishers were from vessels suspected of fishing illegally in Australian waters intercepted off the north coast of Western Australia. All fishers entered pleas of guilty to the charges and were fined a total of $24,300.

The vessels were intercepted and boarded by ABF and Australian Navy, through Maritime Border Command (MBC), and under Operation Jawline 13, a joint operation with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Wez Norris, emphasised that illegal foreign fishing poses a threat to the sustainability of Australia’s well-managed Commonwealth fish resources and marine ecosystems, and it is important to deter this type of activity.

“While these direct enforcement actions are important, we also continue to work closely with Indonesia to address the issue at its source through the distribution of educational material, targeted social media campaigns and face-to-face visits with Indonesian fishers in key ports,” Mr Norris said.

MBC Commander, Rear Admiral Justin Jones, said Australia does not tolerate illegal foreign fishing in its waters and those who are caught offending face similar prosecution.

“My message to those trying to exploit Australia’s maritime domain is clear: we are actively patrolling these waters and you will be caught. Do not risk losing your boat or your economic livelihood,” Rear Admiral Jones said.

In addition to fines, the fishers’ vessels were seized and destroyed at sea.

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