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Illegal fishing in Australian waters is at crisis point.

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Robert McClelland MP Shadow Minister for Defence Shadow Minister for Homeland Security

Gavan O’Connor MP Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries

18 April 2005


Australian commercial fishermen are fed up with seeing illegal foreign fisherman take off with boatloads of their valuable product.

Public comments today by the Gulf Fishermen's Association should serve as a sharp reminder to the Howard Government that illegal fishing is happening every day in Australian waters and it must be stopped.

When asked about the prevalence of illegal fishing boats, Mr Gary Ward, Chairman of the Gulf Fishermen's Association, told ABC Radio today:

"There’s God knows how many boats out there and it's just open slather… They've been reported off Mornington, one of our boats reported four of them off Mornington the other day, I mean the Gulf is just full of them."

The Government talks tough on border protection, they falsely declare how they’re winning the war on illegal fishing, and they put their public relations machine into overdrive when Customs make a big drug haul. But what is the obvious reality when you look through the spin?

The facts are that in the past week alone we’ve seen an illegal boat sail up a northern Australian creek, inherently a major quarantine threat, and we’ve heard a key industry spokesman state how bad the illegal fishing situation has become in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The past week has revealed the true nature of this Government’s border protection credentials - political spin not real security.

Further information: Tom Cameron 0417 147 932