Australian, Vietnamese authorities eradicating illegal fishing
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has completed a joint public information campaign with the Vietnamese Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Vietnamese Directorate of Fisheries in Vietnam as part of efforts to combat illegal foreign fishing.
More than 200 Vietnamese fishers and government officials have attended recent workshops regarding international maritime boundaries, and the consequences of illegal fishing in Australian waters and the Pacific.
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said that the two countries’ joint approach demonstrated “a united front” to deliver the message that those who do the wrong thing face financial penalties, potential jail time and the destruction of their fishing boats.
“The information campaign honored a commitment under the Australia and Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding to educate Vietnamese fishing communities about the risks and consequences of illegal fishing," she said. “In the past two years there have only been 14 Vietnamese fishing vessels apprehended in the Australian Fishing Zone, with a total of 180 fishers convicted."
The campaign was delivered in the Quảng Ngãi Province, the source of many fishing vessels apprehended in Australian and Pacific waters in recent years.
AFMA said Vietnamese vessels travel long distances to fish illegally in Australian waters to target lucrative species such as sea cucumbers and giant clams. It also highlighted that illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing could devastate localized populations of marine species and result in damage to environmentally sensitive ecosystems.
Australia continues to work with Vietnam, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands to combat IUU fishing in Australian waters and the wider Pacific region, AFMA said.