Australia jails Vietnamese poachers
Illegal fisher charged with fisheries and environmental offences
Illegal foreign fishers have been convicted for breaches of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (FMA Act) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
One foreign fisher has gone to jail and a further 29 illegal foreign fishers from two separate apprehensions have also been convicted.
Kerry Smith, AFMA’s acting general manager of fisheries operations, said: “The convictions and jail time send a strong message to those thinking about plundering Australia’s fisheries.”
She added: “If you do the wrong thing, you will be caught and will face penalties.”
Quy Van Nguyen, a Vietnamese national, was charged with fisheries and environmental offences due to fishing illegally inside Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone on 30 November 2016.
He was also found to be in breach of a good behaviour bond from a similar offence committed in September 2016. Mr Nguyen is now serving a two-month term in prison.
Following this, 13 Vietnamese fishers apprehended on 19 November 2016, and 16 Vietnamese fishers apprehended on 30 November 2016, were charged with environmental and fisheries offences and received suspended sentences ranging from two to six months’ imprisonment for each offence.
Andrew Read of Parks Australia, said: “All Australians love our oceans. Illegal fishing like this is just bad for everyone – for the environment, for the people who make their living from our oceans, for those wanting to explore these waters.”
He concluded: “That’s why we’re working closely with AFMA and MBC to stamp out illegal fishers in Australian waters.”
The outcomes come after a successful investigation by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) together with Parks Australia.
These vessels were initially detected by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), through surveillance aircraft near Saumarez Reefs in the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.