BPC intercepts foreign fishing vessel north west of Darwin

Border Protection Command (BPC), working closely with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), has apprehended a foreign fishing vessel approximately 180 nautical miles north west of Darwin, suspected of illegally fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone.

The vessel was detected and intercepted on Sunday, 27 April 2014 by HMASLaunceston, operating under the coordination of BPC.

The vessel was boarded by BPC-assigned personnel, and was found to have approximately 20 kilograms of salted trepang, five reef fish and five kilograms of dried fish, along with hookah and dive gear.

Commander BPC, Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, said BPC takes any attempt to steal Australia’s marine wildlife seriously.

“The hardworking men and women of Border Protection Command are proud to be safe guarding Australian marine wildlife from the threat of illegal fishing,” Rear Admiral Noonan said.

AFMA General Manager of Operations Peter Venslovas said illegal foreign fishers intercepted in the Australian Fishing Zone face the prospect of prosecution and the confiscation of their fishing vessels.

The vessel will be towed to Darwin by HMAS Launceston where it will be inspected by AFMA and Biosecurity officials.

AFMA will further investigate the activities of the vessel and may lay charges against the master and crew.