Eight Indonesian fishers have been placed on good behaviour bonds in the Darwin Magistrates Court after being caught illegally fishing in Australian waters last month. Their vessel was also confiscated and destroyed at a facility in Darwin.

The master, who was a first time offender, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, was convicted and received two twelve month good behaviour bonds.

The crew were also first-time offenders and each pleaded guilty to one offence and were convicted. All seven received twelve-month good behaviour bonds.

The vessel was apprehended approximately 180 nautical miles north-west of the Northern Territory Coast on 23 October, after being sighted by an Australian Border Force (ABF) Dash-8 aircraft conducting surveillance in the area.

Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency task force within the ABF, tasked HMAS Armidale to intercept and board the vessels where small catches of dried and fresh fish, sea snail and fishing equipment were found.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s (AFMA) General Manager of Operations, Peter Venslovas, said we take the matter of illegal fishing very seriously.

“Australia has some of the best-managed fisheries in the world and illegal fishing undermines the economic and environmental sustainability of our marine resources. AFMA is working hard to protect these resources so they remain viable for current and future generations.”

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Peter Laver, welcomed the outcome and said it should serve as a warning to those engaging in any illegal fishing ventures.

“Our officers are dedicated to protecting the Australian Maritime Domain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Those who engage in any kind of illegal fishing activity will be caught and prosecuted in accordance with Australian law.”

Attribution Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

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