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Joint Australian-Indonesian patrols in the fight against illegal fishing.

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Media Releases : DAFF05/252M Last updated: 19 December 2005

Joint Australian-Indonesian patrols in the fight against illegal fishing

DAFF05/252M 19 December 2005

I am pleased to announce that the Indonesian Minister for Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Freddy Numberi, and I have agreed in principle to new initiatives to end illegal fishing in Australia's northern waters

Indonesia has offered to progress the idea of regular coordinated patrols on the territorial sea borders of our two nations.

The goal of these coordinated patrols would be to turn back Indonesian fishermen before they commit illegal fishing activity in Australian waters.

By doing this, not only would it help reduce the number of incursions into Australian waters, but also reduce the number of Indonesian nationals being arrested in Australia.

Officials from Indonesia and Australia have been tasked with putting together the arrangements that would apply to these coordinated patrols.

At a meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr Hassan Wirajuda, earlier in the day, we agreed to greater Indonesian police involvement in investigating illegal fishing.

We agreed that the trade was increasingly being driven by international crime syndicates and are concerned that the penalties involved are not a sufficient deterrent for these syndicates.

During my discussions with Mr Numberi and Dr Wirajuda, we also discussed ways to implement the $300,000 campaign to raise awareness in Indonesia of the impacts and consequences of fishing illegally in Australian waters.

It is our belief that a campaign undertaken in the individual villages will help educate and stop the flow of illegal fisherman at the root cause.

We have agreed to share information with Indonesia about the village origins of illegal fisherman, which will allow the joint investigation of the organisation of the illegal trade in shark fin.

Australian remains committed to helping Indonesian fisherman develop alternative livelihoods and look at other ways to secure their fishing future. However we need to make it abundantly clear that Australian waters are off limits and we will continue to arrest those found stealing our fish stocks. (1 of 2) [21/12/2005 11:25:36 AM]