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Strong presence pays dividends.



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Last updated: 9 August 2004

Strong presence pays dividends

DAFF04/161M 9 August 2004

Over 80 kilograms of shark, fresh fish and bait have been uncovered after the arrest of an illegal Indonesian fishing vessel off the coast of Darwin.

Australian Fisheries Minister Senator Ian Macdonald said the vessel was one of five apprehended in the past week at various locations inside Australia's Fishing Zone off the coast of the Northern Territory including:

● Karisma - Apprehended on Thursday August 5 by HMAS Warrnambool west of Darwin

● Sias Gila - Apprehended on Thursday August 5 by HMAS Warrnambool west of Darwin

● Supiana - Apprehended on Thursday August 5 by HMAS Townsville near Cape Wessel

● Citra Baru - Apprehended on Saturday August 7 by HMAS Bendigo near Money Shaol

● Citra Padsu - Apprehended on Saturday August 7 by HMAS Bendigo near Money Shoal

The two vessels apprehended on Saturday were allegedly caught fishing at the time, while the Sias Gilla had a small quantity of shark fin and fish on board.

The major find came on board the Karisma, where an inspection uncovered over 10kg of shark fin, 30kg of shark flesh, 30kg dried bait and around 12kg of fresh fish.

"When you consider that shark fin can fetch up to $300 per kilogram alone on the Asian market, you start to realise that these illegal fishers are breaking the law in search of a quick buck," Senator Macdonald said.

"The Australian Government views any breaches of our law as an attack, not only on our fish stocks, but on our sovereignty. We will continue our strong approach to those fishers who breach our borders, to protect what rightly belongs to the Australian people."

Four boats have been towed back to Darwin where AFMA officers are expected to lay charges, while crew on board Sias Gila were transported back to land by Navy officers after their vessel sunk on route.

"The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), the Royal Australian Navy and Customs will continue to maintain their vigilant watch over Australia's northern waters," Senator Macdonald said.

There have now been 84 vessels apprehended for fishing illegally in Australian waters since the start of 2004.

Further inquiries:

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

http://www.mffc.gov.au/releases/2004/04161m.html

© Commonwealth of Australia 2002 | Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry | Other DAFF Ministers | Prime Minister