Darwin court convicts Indonesian boat crews for illegal fishing

The Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Launceston prepares to tow an aprehended Indonesian foreign fishing vessel. (Photo: Royal Australian Navy)

The masters and one crew member of two Indonesian fishing vessels, apprehended less than a week apart in Australian waters, have been convicted in the Darwin Local Court for offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) said in a statement on Tuesday, December 24.

Late last week, the master and one crew member of a vessel apprehended on December 10, off north western Australia, received individual fines of AU$2,500 (US$1,731) for the master and AU$500 (US$346) for the crewmember.

On Monday, December 23, the master of a vessel apprehended on December 15 entered guilty pleas to two charges. The vessel was sighted north of the Gulf of Carpentaria with over 14 tonnes of fresh and frozen shark and finfish on board.

The master of this second vessel was convicted and fined a total of AU$10,000 (US$6,926).

Both vessels were sighted in Australian waters by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency task force in the Australian Border Force, and were apprehended in joint operations with the AFMA.

In addition to fines, both vessels were confiscated and destroyed.

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