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Navy apprehends second suspected illegal fishing vessel.

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JOINT STATEMENT Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill

AFFA02/8MJ 12 February 2002

Navy apprehends second suspected illegal fishing vessel

Defence Minister Robert Hill and Fisheries Minister Ian Macdonald today announced the Royal Australian Navy and fisheries officers have successfully apprehended a second vessel believed to be illegally fishing in Australian waters south west of Perth.

Senator Hill said the second vessel, named the Volga, was apprehended on February 7 after it was believed to have been fishing illegally in Australia’s exclusive economic zone around the remote Heard and McDonald Islands.

“After a navy boarding party apprehended the Volga, a second party including Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) officers, boarded the vessel and identified 127 tonnes of frozen and fresh Patagonian toothfish,” Senator Hill said.

“The Volga now has an Australian steaming party onboard and is under escort to Fremantle with the Lena, another suspected illegal fishing vessel apprehended earlier. The vessels are expected to arrive in Fremantle in mid February”

Senator Macdonald congratulated AFMA and the navy on the success of the operation and said that the vessels will be investigated further by AFMA and the DPP on arrival in Fremantle.

“It is estimated that the two apprehended vessels had around 200 tonnes of alleged illegal catch with an estimated value of around $2.5 million,” Senator Macdonald said.

“The successful apprehension of these two vessels in a joint Fisheries-Defence operation sends a strong signal to potential illegal fishers that we can strike any time, anywhere, in all sorts of conditions, to protect our sovereign waters and fisheries interests.

“As well, both the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and AFMA are committed to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources for the world wide protection and sustainability of this rare fish species.”

Stills of the operation will be available at the Defence web site:

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: David Moore 0417 774 724 Senator Hill's office: Belinda Huppatz 0419 258 364

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