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Hefty Penalties For Illegal Fishing In Australia

Australian authorities are taking stronger measures to combat illegal fishing and have made increased convictions with hefty penalties. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has been working to crack down on unlawful fishing practices in recent months with considerable effect.

AFMA General Manager of Fisheries Operation, Peter Venslovas said it was important that commercial fish catches are accurately recorded to make sure that stocks are well protected and that fishing is sustainable.

He said: “People who disregard these rules threaten the availability of fish for future generations of Australians to enjoy and the livelihoods of the majority of fishers who do the right thing.

“We take this issue very seriously and have increased our activity to target those people who are seeking to breach catch limits.”

An Australian skipper from the Commonwealth tuna fishery was recently convicted for illegal tuna fishing practices and fined just over USD 9,000. The conviction came after AFMA and NSW Fisheries identified a failure to declare catch and the sale of captured tuna to an unauthorized fish receiver.

In September, two skippers in South Australia were fined close to USD 28,400 for fishing in closed areas. Fishers found guilty of illegal practices in Australia, or selling black-market fish could face jail sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up to USD 38,970. Companies convicted of the same actions could face charges of USD 194,850, as well as forfeiture of the value of the catch.

Venslovas said that the latest results were pleasing and that the penalties reflect the seriousness of the crimes.