Joint media release - The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
The Australian Government welcomes news from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment that legal proceedings have commenced against Spanish nationals involved with operation of the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels, Kunlun, Songhua, Yongding and Tiantai.
The proposed sanctions relate to alleged breaches of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said this result showcased the level of global commitment to protecting marine resources.
“The fines that can be imposed are substantial and reflect the very serious nature of this crime, we commend Spanish authorities for taking strong action against these IUU operators,” Mr Dutton said.
“Australia has also taken strong action this year, with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority conducting several flag state verification checks on vessels known to be operating in the Southern Ocean.
“Australian authorities continue to work closely with Spanish authorities by sharing this information so that it may assist the Spanish prosecution.”
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck agreed, saying that the resolve of countries in taking action was commendable and was clearly achieving results.
“The sharing of expertise and information continues to increase the capacity of our regional partners to shut down opportunities for illegal fishing operators,” Senator Colbeck said.
“This year we’ve seen high levels of international cooperation lead to almost all of the IUU fleet known to be operating in the Southern Ocean now being out of action.
“This is a great result and Australia will continue to work with our international counterparts to combat IUU fishing.”