The Australian Government has welcomed the news that Chinese authorities have taken action against the operator of a Chinese fishing vessel found to have been misreporting catches in Australian waters.
The owners of the Yuan Da 19 have been handed some very heavy penalties, with all of its fishing licences terminated and a ban imposed on engaging in deep sea fishing activities, in addition to a US$300,000 fine after it was confirmed that the vessel’s crew had been misreporting catches of southern bluefin tuna.
Further sanctions issued for the breach of regional fisheries regulations include the managers of company being black-listed by the Chinese authorities, meaning they are is no longer permitted to engage in and/or work for any business relating to distant water fishery activities, and the revocation of the skipper’s fishing licence.
The 48 metre, Dalian-registered Yuan Da 19 was boarded by an Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) officer during a patrol with the Australian Border Force (ABF) in September last year. Following DNA testing of fish samples taken during the boarding, it was found that the vessel had been catching southern bluefin tuna and other species on the high seas that had not been recorded in logbooks – a requirement of fishing operations conducted in Central and Western Pacific region.
‘Through information sharing and working with our international counterparts, we are fighting the global issue that is illegal fishing,’ said Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, commenting that the conviction was an excellent example of how information sharing between nations is making a difference in combatting illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
‘The Australian Government congratulates Chinese authorities on taking action and sending a strong message to other companies seeking to do the wrong thing.’
The Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the offence was a serious violation under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Conservation and Management Measures.
‘Illegal fishing violates the very rules and regulations in place to help ensure the sustainability of our fisheries,’ Minister Ruston said.
‘Australia’s global partnerships are pivotal to preventing this crime and the Government remains committed to tackling this issue. It is great to see the work of Australian authorities like AFMA and ABF leading to results in the global war against illegal fishing.’