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Blitz nets nine illegal fishers.



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You are here : Home : Media Releases : DAFF04/214M Last updated: 25 October 2004

Blitz nets nine illegal fishers

DAFF04/214M 25 October 2004

Nine foreign fishing boats have been netted by authorities during a weekend blitz on illegal fishing in Australia's northern waters.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Australian Customs Service and the Royal Australian Navy combined to apprehend the vessels in various locations off the coast of Northern Territory in Australia's northern fishing zone.

Australian Fisheries and Conservation Minister Senator Ian Macdonald said the weekend results demonstrated the strength of the Australian Government's integrated approach to border protection.

"Seven of the vessels were caught in a 12-hour period on Saturday thanks to the efforts of Customs and the Navy, as well as the vigilance of the Coastwatch aircraft and the Royal Australian Air Force," Senator Macdonald said.

"The Government is committed to ensuring that Australia's valuable fishing resources are protected from these poachers. When there is evidence of illegal fishing, we will respond accordingly, and the weekend's success shows we mean business."

Senator Macdonald said three of the vessels were apprehended during hot pursuit after making a dash for Indonesian waters once confronted by patrol vessels inside Australia's Fishing Zone.

"This should leave no doubt that these operators are well aware of their location inside Australian waters and of the fact that they are acting illegally," he said.

"All the fishing vessels had navigational equipment on-board including sophisticated global positioning systems (GPS) and navigational charts."

Five of the vessels have been transported to Gove, and three to Darwin in the Northern Territory. One vessel was destroyed at sea due to safety concerns for the crewmembers.

Catch included a quantity of shark fin, dried tuna and various other fish species.

Senator Macdonald paid tribute to the officers of AFMA, Customs and the Navy who worked tirelessly over the weekend to apprehend the vessels.

There have now been 127 vessels apprehended for fishing illegally in Australian waters since the start of this year.

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: David Crisafulli (07) 4771 3066 or 0400 144 483

http://www.mffc.gov.au/releases/2004/04214m.html

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