Joint statement from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), in partnership with Maritime Border Command (MBC), has apprehended an illegal foreign fishing vessel in Australian waters.

MBC is a multi-agency task force utilising Australian Border Force (ABF) and Australian Defence Force (ADF) assets. HMAS Armidale responded and intercepted the fishing vessel on 21 February 2023.

Eight crew members were on-board the Indonesian fishing vessel, ALWI JAYA, along with an estimated 250 kilograms of Trepang (Sea Cucumber), 15 shark fins, fish, and fishing equipment. The vessel, catch and fishing equipment were seized and were brought into Darwin today, along with the crew.

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Justin Jones, said this apprehension should send a strong message to foreign vessels seeking to exploit Australia’s maritime domain.

“We will continue to undertake aerial surveillance and maritime patrols to detect and intercept illegal fishing operators to protect Australia’s borders and our precious natural resources,” RADM Jones said.

“Our message is clear: those looking to exploit Australia’s sovereign waters will be detected, caught and will face the consequences.”

Upon arrival in Darwin, the crew members were detained by ABF, and AFMA is investigating the matter further for suspected offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Wez Norris, emphasised that illegal foreign fishing undermines Australia’s efforts to manage fish resources sustainably and can have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems.

“The offenders face the prospect of significant fines and the loss of their vessel which has a detrimental impact on their livelihoods. Additionally, we are continuing to work closely with Indonesia to address the issue at its source through the delivery of education workshops in key Indonesian ports which outline the risks and consequences of illegal fishing,” Mr Norris said.

Illegal fishing activity in Australian waters can be reported to Australian authorities by contacting CRIMFISH on 1800 274 634

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