Illegal vessel caught fishing off WA coast

An Indonesian fishing vessel was apprehended off north-west WA. Picture: Supplied
An Indonesian fishing vessel was apprehended off north-west WA. Picture: Supplied

AN Indonesian fishing vessel suspected of illegally fishing in Australian waters has been apprehended off north-west Western Australia.

The boat was first spotted on June 22 about 27 nautical miles south of Browse Island inside the Australian Fishing Zone.

A multi-agency taskforce monitored the boat actively fishing inside the zone from June 22–25 before Australian Defence Vessel HMAS Maitland intercepted the vessel on June 25.

A search of the vessel found about 50kgs of fish meat and ten shark fins, with deployed fishing gear seen in the water.

The crew were detained and transferred to Darwin, and the vessel was assessed as being unseaworthy and sunk.

A statement released by the Australian Border Force confirmed the multi-agency operation, working with the Maritime Border Command and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

Commander Maritime Border Command, Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, said the apprehension highlighted the ongoing strong maritime posture of the MBC.

“The ABF, through MBC, continues to maintain a strong and agile presence around Australia’s coastline to detect and respond to illegal foreign fishing and other civil maritime security threats,” Rear Admiral Goddard said.

“We are resolutely committed to upholding the integrity of the border and protecting Australia’s unique environmental and marine assets,” he said.

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said the crew are being detained in Darwin, while AFMA investigates any possible breaches under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

“Ensuring Australia’s marine resources are protected from risks posed by illegal fishing is a priority for AFMA, and we will continue to work with MBC to detect and prosecute offenders,” Mr Venslovas said.

Anyone with information about potential illegal foreign fishing is encouraged to report it to the ABF’s Border Watch program by visiting www.australia.gov.au/borderwatch.

 

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