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 has welcomed news that the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessel Perlon has been detained by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
This latest detention brings the total number of IUU fishing vessels detained in Asian ports to three, following the recent detentions of the Viking and the Kunlun.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said the detention of the Perlon on May 9 occurred following enforcement action by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) who boarded the vessel last month to determine its flag state.
The Perlon was caught in the south-east of the Malaysian peninsula offloading approximately 300 tonnes of toothfish (claimed to be groper) to a barge for transport to shore. All vessels involved in the offload, including the tug, the barge, and several containers were detained.
Following a request from Australia to establish the vessel’s identity, on 11 May Nigeria confirmed that the FV Perlon has not been flagged to Nigeria since 2011.
Mr Dutton said information gathered by ACBPS officers on board the Kunlun and Perlon had been instrumental in the detention of these vessels.
“The exploitation of natural resources in the Southern Ocean is big business for transnational organised crime networks,” Mr Dutton said.
“Under this Government, transnational organised crime has nowhere to hide and no ports of safe haven. As this latest action shows, we are getting results.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck said Australia continues to work closely with international partners through the Regional Plan of Action and with INTERPOL to combat illegal fishing.
“Officers from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) used their extensive networks to alert Southeast Asian countries of the possible arrival of this vessel into their ports, resulting in the detention of the Perlon,” Senator Colbeck said.
“Officers from AFMA are now in Malaysia following a request from Malaysian authorities to assist in the investigation of the catch and documents found on the Perlon.
“This sharing of expertise continues to increase the capacity of our regional partners to shut down opportunities for illegal fishing operators.”
This Government remains committed to combating IUU fishing, which undermines the sustainability of marine resources and threatens food security and the economic, social and political stability of states which rely on sustainable fisheries for their source of revenue.
The international community continues to work together to counter the actions of these criminals by closing port access to markets, de-flagging vessels and investigating the actions of their nationals.