Australia & Indonesia coordinated patrols target illegal fishing

Friday, 02 May 2008


Vessels from Australian Customs and the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries have completed a coordinated patrol targeting illegal fishing north of Australia, the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus said today.

The Customs Vessel Triton and Indonesian Fisheries Vessels Hiu Macan 003 and Hiu Macan004 patrolled their respective Exclusive Economic Zones in the Arafura Sea north-east of Darwin.

The Indonesian vessels also visited an Australian port for the first time.

Mr Debus said the operation was the second co-ordinated patrol involving Australian and Indonesian vessels and demonstrated both governments' co-operative approach to the issue of illegal foreign fishing.

The two-week operation was co-ordinated by Border Protection Command and included daily aerial surveillance by Coastwatch and RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft. An Indonesian Fisheries officer on board the Coastwatch aircraft co-ordinated the response of the Indonesian patrol vessels to sightings north of the Australian/Indonesian maritime border.

"While no illegal activity was detected by Australian or Indonesian patrol boats, a number of investigative boardings were undertaken in both Australian and Indonesian waters," Mr Debus said.

"Illegal fishing is an international problem threatening world wide fish stocks, the marine environment and the border security of all nations in the region.

"This is not a problem unique to Australia. The aim of this patrol was to work together to detect, board and apprehend any suspected illegal, unlicensed or unreported fishing boats in Australian and Indonesian waters.

"It also allowed BPC to further test communication and operational protocols between Australian and Indonesian patrol boats and surveillance aircraft. These protocols will ensure a more effective response to illegal activities within our maritime zones," Mr Debus said.

The Hiu Macan 003 and Hiu Macan 004 were built in 2006 and travelled to Darwin before the patrol for operational planning and briefing activities.

"International co-operation is the key to responding effectively to the illegal fishing problem and the success of this operation is due to the co-operation of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and the crews of the patrol vessels."

Last Updated ( Friday, 02 May 2008 )