Live mud crabs seized by Australian authorities

Published on
June 12, 2018

A shipment of live mud crabs suspected of being taken illegally was seized in the Torres Strait at Horn Island Airport and returned to the sea, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has confirmed.

Originating from an outer island in the Torres Strait and destined for Cairns, AFMA officers found 141 live mud crabs in the shipment. It was alleged the consignment had been received by an unlicensed fish receiver, which is an offence under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984.

AFMA General Manager of Fisheries Operations Peter Venslovas said it was important for operators to follow the rules so that fish stocks remain sustainable.

Conditions, such as the requirement to be a licensed fish receiver and to report catches, are in place to ensure there is an accurate source of data to better inform management decisions, he said.

“AFMA takes non-compliance very seriously and is conducting an investigation into the matter. The vast majority of Commonwealth commercial fishing operators do the right thing and comply with the rules. Fishing is an important and historic activity for communities in the Torres Strait, so ensuring fisheries are sustainable and well managed is crucial to the livelihoods of generations of fishers," Venslovas said. “We will continue to monitor operators and where we observe pockets of non-compliance, action will be taken.”

This latest seizure follows the return of Papua New Guinean nationals to their country last month after they were found in the Torres Strait with a catch of mud crabs suspected to have been taken illegally from waters near Saibai Island.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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