Two Indonesian fisherman convicted and charged vessel destroyed

Two illegal foreign fishing vessels apprehended east of Ashmore Island.

The Australian Government is continuing its focus on deterring illegal fishing with two Indonesian fisherman convicted and charged with illegal fishing offences in the Darwin Magistrates Court earlier this month.

Both fishers pleaded guilty in court, and their vessel was confiscated and destroyed at a facility in Darwin.

The master of an Indonesian fishing vessel and one crew member, who was a repeat offender, were convicted and fined $8,000 and $2,000 respectively, for breaches under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

The convictions followed an investigation by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) after the vessel was apprehended on 19 July 2018 approximately 125 nautical miles off the north Western Australia coast.

Australian Border Force (ABF) tasked the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessel, HMAS Broome, through Maritime Border Command, to intercept the vessel, where RAN and AFMA officers discovered a quantity of fish and bait on board.

Although the master of the vessel claimed he was unaware they were in Australian waters, the fishing vessel was confirmed to be fishing inside the Australian Fishing Zone on seven occasions prior to the apprehension.

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, stressed the importance of prosecuting illegal foreign fishers.

“Illegal fishing is one of the greatest threats to the sustainability and health of Australia’s well managed Commonwealth fisheries,” Mr Venslovas said.

“Over the last decade, AFMA in cooperation with other Australian Government agencies has worked hard to reduce the number of illegal foreign vessels in Australia’s waters, demonstrating that good surveillance, swift apprehensions and harsh penalties are effective.

”Acting Commander MBC, Craig Sommerville said this is another successful outcome and the conviction serves as a warning to those engaging in illegal fishing in Australian waters.

“Protecting Australia’s maritime environment against the illegal exploitation of natural resources is one of our key priorities and this conviction should send a message to those seeking to circumvent our laws.”