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Australia & France Combat IUU

by the Fish Site Editor
13 January 2011, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA & FRANCE - The Australian Government has taken another important step in the global fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by formalising an agreement with the French Government on cooperative patrols in the Southern Ocean.

The Australia-France Cooperative Enforcement Agreement that entered into force earlier this month, allows joint Australian and French patrols to enforce each other’s fishing laws in their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and territorial seas in the Southern Ocean.

Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Martin Ferguson, said Australia and France have neighbouring EEZs in the Southern Ocean and share a common interest in protecting the valuable fisheries resources within it.

“This advanced and innovative agreement consolidates the strong cooperative relationship between Australia and France and will send an important message to illegal fishers,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Close cooperation between our countries is one of the most effective ways to meet the challenges of enforcing fisheries laws in the remote Southern Ocean.

“The agreement points to the potential for modern, remote-sensing technology to tip the balance in our favour in the fight against IUU fishing.

“This treaty builds upon successful joint surveillance operations between Australia and France in the Southern Ocean since 2005.”

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said the cooperative enforcement measures include the boarding, inspection, hot pursuit, apprehension, seizure and investigation of fishing vessels that are believed to have breached fisheries laws.

“Our combined efforts to ensure our respective laws are observed are proving a very powerful deterrent to IUU fishing,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Most French patrols now have Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Customs officers aboard their ships, while the Australian patrol boat, Ocean Protector, has French officials on board.”

The exchange of personnel is necessary to apply and enforce each country’s laws. For Australian vessels to enforce French fisheries laws in French waters, a French officer must be aboard, and vice versa when French vessels are in Australian waters.

“Responsible fishing nations like Australia and France are trying to stop the growth of illegal fishing, amid increasing demand for fish products and declining global fish stocks,” Dr Kelly said.

“We want to ensure Australia’s fisheries are competitive, profitable and sustainable.”

The maritime areas covered by the agreement include the Australian territories of Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and the French territories of Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Islands, Saint-Paul Island and Amsterdam Island.

the Fish Site Editor