Three Indonesian fishing vessels and 12 crew have been apprehended 180 nautical miles north-west of Darwin earlier this week, suspected of illegally fishing inside Australian waters.
Maritime Border Command (MBC), a joint agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), apprehended the vessels together with Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) after fresh fish was found on board.
The vessels were initially spotted two nautical miles inside the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone by an MBC Dash-8 aircraft conducting aerial surveillance in the area.
HMAS Broome intercepted and boarded the vessels, finding a combined haul of approximately 600 kg of fish on board.
The three vessels and the 12 crew will be brought into Darwin for further investigation by AFMA over possible breaches of Australian fisheries laws.
MBC Commander Rear Admiral Peter Laver said this apprehension shows the ongoing commitment to protecting Australia’s marine resources.
“Successful interagency cooperation has seen a significant reduction in the number of illegal fishing vessels entering our waters in recent years, but as this detection shows we must remain vigilant,” Read Admiral Laver said.
“Anyone attempting to exploit our precious natural resources, even in the vast expanse of Australian waters, should expect to be intercepted by one of our vessels and will face penalties.”
AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said that the Australian government takes the matter of illegal fishing very seriously.
“The ongoing work of AFMA and MBC continues to send a clear and consistent message to illegal fishers who enter Australian waters,” Mr Venslovas said.
“Illegal fishing activity will not be tolerated and we’re working hard to protect and sustainably manage Australia’s fishing resources.”