Australia destroys Indonesian boat nabbed with shark fin

World | 12 Nov 2019 6:02 pm

A haul of more than 60 shark fins, skins and flesh has been discovered on board an Indonesian fishing boat in waters off the coast of Darwin, ABC News reports.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) said the boat was likely in the early stages of its fishing operation before it was apprehended 187 kilometres from Croker Island.

Peter Venslovas, AFMA's fishing operations general manager, said Australian Border Force officers found five crew on board with a suspected illegal catch of 63 fresh shark fins, 16 shark skins and 60 kilograms of shark flesh.

Despite the relatively small quantity found,  Venslovas told the NT Country Hour shark fin could fetch up to A$175 per kilogram in Indonesia.

The boat was burnt yesterday morning after being escorted into Darwin Harbour to AFMA's vessel destruction facility.

"Because of the nature of them, destruction is the most effective method to deal with that quarantine risk,"  Venslovas said.

AFMA fisheries officers have started their investigation and will recommend charges to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"The usual process is to charge the master, because the master is in charge of the vessel and he's the brains behind the operation," Venslovas said.

Venslovas said the maximum fine is A$52,500 but the confiscation and destruction of the boat was the most significant financial penalty.

He said it was the second boat apprehended in Australia's northern waters this financial year — five were found last financial year.


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