Indonesian vessel carrying suspected illegal shark cargo apprehended in Australia

Published on
November 11, 2019

An Indonesian vessel suspected of illegal fishing in Australian waters has been apprehended, according to a joint media release from the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

The Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), received detection of the vessel on 3 November when it was approximately two nautical miles inside Australia’s exclusive economic zone. The vessel was pursued and apprehended by ABF Cutter Cape Jervis under the command of MBC, as part of an operational team effort run by the agency with AFMA.  

A search of the Indonesian vessel by ABF officials revealed five crew onboard with a host of suspected illegal catch, including 16 shark skins, 63 fresh shark fins, and 60 kilograms of shark flesh. The vessel was brought into Darwin, located in the Northern Territory of Australia, to investigate potential breaches of the Fisheries Management Act of 1991.   

Identifying and working to prevent illegal foreign fishers from committing such seafaring transgressions is a current top priority for Australian authorities, said Peter Venslovas, AFMA’s general manager of fisheries operations.

“Australian fish resources are very well managed and are a target for illegal foreign fishers. AFMA and partner agencies work around the clock to monitor and protect Australia’s premium marine environment so the Australian community can enjoy this natural resource for generations to come,” Venslovas said. “We also work collaboratively with Australia’s regional neighbours to educate communities of the risks and potential consequences of illegal fishing in Australian waters to deter them from this illegal activity.”

Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, an MBC commander, said that the ABF is “vigilant when it comes to keeping Australian waters secure.”

“The ABF, through MBC, works closely with partner agencies to detect and intercept illegal fishing vessels,” Goddard added. “Anyone who attempts this type of illegal behavior will be caught and prosecuted.”

Photo courtesy of the Australian Border Force and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority

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