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7 illegal fishing boats arrested in Aust. waters

Seven illegal fishing boats arrested

Australian authorities have combined to apprehend seven foreign fishing vessels late yesterday, including four large 'ice-boats', fishing in Australia's northern waters.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) authorised the apprehension of the vessels after they were spotted inside the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ).

HMAS Bunbury, HMAS Bendigo, and the Australian Customs Vessel Corio Bay, combined to apprehend the seven vessels after they were detected by Coastwatch aircraft.

Initial inspections indicate that the vessels have a combined total of 8.5 tonnes of reef fish and 5kg of shark fin on board.

The three smaller vessels were apprehended north west of Broome, Western Australia.

The four 'ice-boats' were apprehended off Arnhem Land.

Two were arrested late yesterday afternoon 40 nautical miles inside the AFZ north west of Cape Wessels, while another two were apprehended 41 nautical miles inside the AFZ north of Cape Wessels last night.

The fact that, on both occasions, two vessels were located in close proximity, indicates they were well organised, and are likely to have been working together inside our fishing zone.

So-called because of their capacity to chill and store large amounts of fish, 'ice-boats' are much larger than the foreign fishing vessels usually apprehended in our northern waters.

It is a tribute to the ability of Customs and Navy officers who, between them, managed to locate and arrest the four vessels.

The boats are being escorted to Broome and Darwin where AFMA officers will make further investigations.

Australian authorities have combined to apprehend 135 foreign fishing vessels this year through ongoing surveillance and targeted operations.

© Scoop Media

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