The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Queensland police and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol recently conducted a patrol of the Gulf of Carpentaria targetting fisheries and maritime compliance.
While government agencies have established a very strong history of working together, this operation was unique in the number of agencies involved on the water and that participating officers were drawn from both the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments.
On board Queensland Police vessel, the Brett Handran, Commonwealth and Queensland authorities demonstrated Australia’s commitment to working collaboratively to protect Australia’s maritime resources.
Out of the 83 vessels intercepted and inspected, no offences were detected relating to Commonwealth fisheries. Queensland Fisheries Officers detected a number of offences pertaining to the Queensland inshore net and crab fishery, and Queensland Police detected other offences including some against the Transport Operations Marine Safety Act. AMSA also detected a number of deficiencies when conducting inspections of domestic commercial vessels.
The success achieved by the patrol was based on a highly coordinated effort between all participating agencies with dedicated time and resources to fulfil Australian legislative responsibilities.
The operation was conducted over late April and early May, starting on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait and proceeding south through the Gulf of Carpentaria, canvassing approximately 1050 nautical miles (1944 kilometres) over 10 days. Areas traversed included inshore and offshore waterways of the Gulf including the port of Karumba.
The patrol presented a unique opportunity for AFMA to continue the work commenced in March with pre-season Northern Prawn Fishery briefs at Darwin, Cairns and Karumba ports conducted by AFMA Fisheries Officers.
AFMA received positive feedback from industry on the efficient multi-agency inspection process and that all the agencies were working so closely together.
AFMA continues to work closely with partner agencies to achieve fisheries resource protection and sustainability now and in to the future.