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Australia must pressure Indonesian government

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For the sake of the Australian fishing industry, the Government must renew pressure on the Indonesian Government to keep its fishing vessels out of Australian waters, according to National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Bruce Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd said the number of illegal fishing vessels captured in Darwin and the North West has increased dramatically, and comes at a time when Australia's fishing industry is already in trouble because of a lack of fish.

He said many Australian fisheries are facing severe reductions in their catch and quotas or restrictions on the size of nets are being forced in many areas of Australia.

"If there is money to be made from fish in Australian waters, Australians must be given first preference."

Mr Lloyd said the illegal fishing also created heavy costs to Australian taxpayers.

"The military, quarantine, harbour, legal and other Australian resources are used in processing these infringements and then there is the cost of sending the fishermen back to Indonesia.

"In just one week 30 Indonesian vessels were apprehended but this could be just the tip of the iceberg because there are not

sufficient resources in Darwin to cope with an extended blitz on illegal fishing.

"The situation is out of control and while Australia is spending time with the individual fishermen, the big companies they work for in Indonesia seem to be getting off very lightly.

"Australia should insist on obtaining assistance from the Indonesian Government to stamp out the problem. I am sure if it was Australian fishermen in Indonesian waters the Indonesians would be demanding assistance on a Government to Government

basis," Mr Lloyd said.

end 20/3/91

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