Il­le­gal haul seized

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

VIET­NAMESE fish­er­men have been ap­pre­hended off Cairns’ coast­line with haul of nearly 2.5 tonnes of poached sea cu­cum­bers.

Fif­teen crew mem­bers were on-board the ves­sel that was caught near Li­hou Reef in the Co­ral Sea, about 630km southeast of Cairns, by Mar­itime Bor­der Com­mand (MBC) on Fe­bru­ary 3.

The boat was spot­ted by an MBC sur­veil­lance air­craft, and later pur­sued by Aus­tralian Bor­der Force cut­ter Storm Bay.

The crew and their ves­sel were ap­pre­hended and taken to Cairns yes­ter­day for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Aus­tralian Fisheries Man­age­ment Author­ity and Parks Aus­tralia for break­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and fisheries laws.

The 2.4 tonnes of sea cu­cum­bers, and 10 large dried fish that was also seized, were dis­posed of at sea.

It is the 10th for­eign boat caught since July last year, with a ma­jor­ity snared in north­ern Aus­tralian wa­ters.

In re­cent months, there has been a spike in the num­ber of Viet­namese fish­ing ves­sels sighted and ap­pre­hended in Aus­tralia’s north­east­ern wa­ters, and the wa­ters of Papua New Guinea, Palau and New Cale­do­nia.

The ac­tiv­ity is be­ing driven by in­creased prices for sea cu­cum­bers on the world mar­ket.

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