Following the launch of the National Compliance and Enforcement Program 2019, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Torres Strait compliance team have inspected 23 boats, eight ports/freight hubs and 19 fish receiver premises in the Torres Strait. In the last three months compliance rates were very good with only four matters requiring further investigation.
One of these involved the seizure of two consignments of beche-de-mer, one of which was intercepted on its way out of the Torres Strait and the other at Cairns airport. AFMA and the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) are conducting a joint investigation into these matters.
AFMA’s Fisheries Officers routinely conduct inspections of commercial fishing activity, including checking catch disposal records, verifying licences for fishing and fish receiving, vessel boarding and inspections and targeted aerial and on-the-ground surveillance.
Fishers and fish receivers involved in commercial fishing in the Torres Strait are required to have relevant and current licences, and are bound by the conditions outlined on those licences.
Non-compliance with the rules and regulations not only undermine the fisheries management arrangements which are in place but can have significant consequences for operators including fines, suspensions and prosecutions.
The Torres Strait Beche-de-mer Fishery is a valuable commercial fishery in the Torres Strait. It’s also very important to the livelihood of the wider Torres Strait community, so it’s important that fishers know and follow the rules and regulations.
AFMA assumed responsibility for commercial fisheries compliance activities in the Torres Strait on 1 July 2018. As a result of the changeover from Fisheries Queensland, the move to streamline arrangements and have one agency undertaking the administration of fisheries management, licensing and compliance functions in the Torres Strait was completed. AFMA Fisheries Officers continue to monitor fishing activities in Torres Strait Fisheries in line with the National Compliance and Enforcement Program 2019.
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.