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90 illegal fishing vessels apprehended this year.

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90 illegal fishing vessels apprehended this year

AFFA02/234M 18 November 2002

Another four Indonesian fishing vessels have been apprehended while allegedly fishing in Australian waters.

Fisheries Minister Senator Ian Macdonald said the first vessel, which was spotted by Coastwatch around lunchtime yesterday near the Wessel Islands at the north east end of Arnhem Land, was found to have six crew on board.

“Although there was no catch on board the boat, she was equipped to fish and, subsequently, the skipper will be questioned by authorities on the boats arrival in Darwin later this week,” Senator Macdonald said.

Half an hour later, in the same area, the Australian Customs Vessel Holdfast Bay intercepted another Indonesian fishing vessel with six crew members on board.

“Within minutes of the second apprehension a third vessel was spotted by Coastwatch in the same area,” Senator Macdonald said.

“All three boats were obviously caught before they had begun fishing, which is a great result.

“In light of this, I would like to thank the men and women of Coastwatch, AFMA, Customs and the RAN for their great work in helping to keep our oceans free from illegal fishers.”

In the early hours of this morning, Coastwatch spotted a fourth vessel, this one was north, north west of Broome, and had four Indonesian crew members on board.

HMAS Launceston was alerted to the sighting and moved into the area to apprehend the vessel.

The vessel and crew are under escort to Broome. Under Australian law all four vessels are subject to automatic forfeiture.

These latest vessels bring to 90 the total number apprehended in Australian waters this year.

Further inquiries: Senator Macdonald's office: Kelly Stevens (02) 6277 7270 or 0405 191 732

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