The Australian Border Force has begun cracking down on illegal fishing in protected marine sanctuaries off the northern coast of Western Australia, intercepting – and in some cases destroying – unauthorized fishing vessels.
After weeks of protests from Australian tour boat operators about the unlawful presence of Indonesian fishing vessels, the force’s Maritime Border Command has heightened its enforcement efforts at Rowley Shoals Marine Park. This protected area lies some 160 nm to the west of the port of Broome, and it encompasses three pristine coral atolls which are a popular attraction for recreational divers.
The area has recently begun to attract fishermen from the southernmost islands of Indonesia, which are just 450 nm away. Australian dive boat operators have complained about a sudden influx of Indonesian fishermen; one skipper told ABC that he counted seven illegal fishing boats on a recent trip. Read on.