Illegal fishing apprehensions in Torres Strait
Australia’s Maritime Border Command (MBC) has apprehended two Papua New Guinean (PNG) banana boats in the Torres Strait for suspected illegal fishing.
Australian Border Force apprehended the first vessel earlier this month, in the shallow waters of Saibai Island, in the far north of the Torres Strait.
Four PNG nationals were later interviewed in relation to unlicensed commercial fishing for crab and tropical rock lobster. As a result, the boat, the catch and equipment on board, were seized.
The second vessel was sighted by an MBC surveillance aircraft on Thursday, March 15, inside the Torres Strait Protected Zone, and was intercepted by Australian Border Force Cutter Cape Wessel, near Warrior Reef.
The four crew were found to be in possession of 80 tropical rock lobster tails, far in excess of the permitted quantity of six. Their boat, catch and equipment were seized and the master and crew handed over to PNG officials for further investigation. Under the terms of the Torres Strait Treaty, PNG nationals suspected of fishing illegally in Australian waters are repatriated to PNG for processing.