The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has published a bilingual webpage to inform Indonesian fishermen about the risks of illegal fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ).
The new AFMA webpage includes animated educational videos and translated chartlets that complement water law enforcement actions against Indonesian Foreign Fishing Vessels (FFVs) operating illegally in the AFZ.
Since April 2021, AFMA with the support of the Maritime Border Command (MBC); a multi-agency task force within the Australian Border Force (ABF) and activated by the Australian Defense Force (ADF) has expanded its operations to counter incursions by Indonesian fishing vessels used to operate illegally in Australian waters .
The webpage is part of AFMA’s efforts to support enforcement action by educating Indonesian fishing operators on fishing in the MOU area. The MOU zone is an area of the AFZ in the Timor Sea where Indonesian fishermen, using only traditional vessels and fishing methods, are allowed to fish.
AFMA and ABF work with Indonesian officials to distribute translated information and education charters on fisheries enforcement to fishing communities, which reinforces the strength of our relationships with our Indonesian government partners and our commitment protect our shared fisheries resources.
While most of Indonesia’s fishing takes place north of the Australia-Indonesia maritime border, an increase in illegal fishing activity has been seen over the past ten months.
Throughout 2021, forays by Indonesian fishermen into the AFZ, targeting beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) around the Cartier Island and Ashmore marine parks, Scott Reef and further south- west of Mermaid Reef Marine Park, resulted in the banning of illegal fishing vessels and legislation. confiscations resulting in the seizure of catches, fishing gear and the disposal of fishing vessels.
Australia’s marine parks are unique marine environments of high conservation value and importance to the Australian community. Protecting these marine parks is a priority for the Australian government.
AFMA Chief Operating Officer Peter Venslovas said “the majority of Indonesian fishing vessels operate in the MOU Box area as per the agreement”.
“This is attributed to a strong Australian education and enforcement response, and a very successful working relationship with our counterparts in the Indonesian Fisheries Government.”
“Developing educational materials for Indonesian anglers in their language complements our work with Indonesian authorities to inform anglers that the risk of breaking the rules in Australian waters is not worth it.”
“Our message to foreign anglers who choose to fish outside the rules is simple. We will intercept you, you will lose your catch, your fishing gear and maybe even your boat.”
“The seizure of fishing gear and the disposal of vessels reminds those seeking to exploit Australia’s marine resources that Australian authorities have zero tolerance for such illegal activities.”
Learn more about traditional Indonesian fishing rules in the Australia-Indonesia MOU Box and the risks associated with illegal fishing in Australian waters at www.afma.gov.au/moubox (Indonesian version), https://www.afma.gov.au/moubox. afma.gov. au/traditional-indonesian-fishing-mou-box (English version).