Foreign fishing vessel apprehended in Australian waters

Joint AFMA

Illegal fishing in Australian waters will not be tolerated, as evidenced by this week’s apprehension of a foreign vessel suspected of illegally fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) east of the Ashmore Islands. The apprehension was made by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a part of the Australian Border Force, in cooperation with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

There were six crewmembers on board the apprehended vessel, who are believed to be from Indonesia. When searching the vessel Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel found over 400 kilograms of fish and fishing equipment deployed in the water. 

The vessel arrived in Darwin this morning after being escorted back by Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Byron where further investigations will be undertaken to AFMA officers.

Commander Maritime Border Command, Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, praised the joint efforts of Maritime Border Command and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and warned that those caught illegally fishing within Australian waters are subject to strict penalties and sanctions.

“MBC will continue to work together with AFMA, along with our international partners, to protect shared fishing stocks and our nation’s fisheries,” Rear Admiral Noonan said.

“Penalties for illegal fishers can include the forfeiture of their vessel, monetary fines and even jail time.”

AFMA General Manager of Operations Peter Venslovas said Australian  agencies are committed to protecting our waters from any illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

“While the number of foreign fishing vessels apprehended in our waters is at all-time lows, Australia continues to remain vigilant,” Mr Venslovas said.

“In addition to surveillance activities, both AFMA and MBC have been working with our Indonesian counterparts on preventative measures, including the delivery of education and awareness programs in Indonesia to deter illegal fishing in Australian waters.

“Our regional cooperation has played a pivotal role in reducing illegal fishing over the last decade.”

More information on how Australia is working to combat illegal fishing can be found at

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

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