Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce in the Australian Border Force (ABF), has apprehended an Indonesian fishing vessel north of the Gulf of Carpentaria for suspected illegal fishing in Australian waters in a joint operation with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).
On 15 December 2019, ABF Cutter Cape York sighted the vessel approximately 139 nautical miles (nm) inside Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with fishing gear in the water. Upon search of the vessel, ABF officers located 11 crew on-board with a suspected in excess of 14 tonnes of fresh and frozen shark and fin fish.
The vessel was confiscated and disposed in a preapproved area after material that may have posed an environmental, safety or quarantine risk was removed.
Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, CSC, RAN said “the number of illegal foreign fishing vessel apprehensions have declined significantly over the years. This shows that our regular patrols of Australia’s borders are effective in protecting our waters.”
“The ABF takes illegal foreign fishing seriously and we will continue to address this threat to Australian waters,” RADM Goddard said.
AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said the crew will be detained in Darwin, while AFMA investigates any possible breaches under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.
“Illegal fishing in Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) poses many risks to Australia’s marine resources and maintaining a sustainable fishing future. AFMA and MBC continue to work collaboratively to ensure that detection, apprehension and prosecution of offenders remains a priority,” Mr Venslovas said.