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Thursday, 14 May 1970

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - During my absence reports apparently were given of foreign vessels operating both off Cape Patton in Victoria and off the Tasmanian coast. The identity of these vessels is not known and they have not been located. This is partly due to the fact that reports of these vessels have been very slow in getting to official sources so that action can be taken to see whether they can be located and identified. In the case of the vessels off Cape Patton, fishermen apparently saw an unidentified fishing vessel there on 30th April, I think it was. It was not reported to the Victorian fishing authorities until 4th May. By that time there was no information about where the vessel was located or where to look for it. I believe that there was also some delay in reporting the vessel off the Tasmanian coast. I would welcome it very much if fishermen would notify the authorities as quickly as possible whenever they sight unidentified vessels so that measures can be taken either with aircraft or patrol vessels to find out just who they are and what they are doing. But I would like to point out to the honourable member that in relation to certain waters around Australia we do have a fishing agreement with Japan that enable her long line tuna vessels to fish within the exclusive fishing zone. It may have been one of these Japanese long line tuna vessels operating in the area. T want to emphasise again that if fishermen do see these foreign vessels they should report the sighting to the authorities as quickly as possible so that action can be taken.

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