Statement re: Sea Shepherd's activities in the Southern Ocean

26 December, 2014

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) is committed to the protection of Australia's sovereign territories and interests in the Southern Ocean.

Australia will continue to comply fully with its international obligations and deal with any unlawful activities in the Southern Ocean in accordance with international and domestic law.

The Thunder was not detected within Australian waters.

Australia has not detected any illegal fishing boats inside its Australian Fishing Zone in the Southern Ocean since 2005.

The Australian Government does not support and is in no way associated with the activities of Sea Shepherd and does not condone any dangerous or unlawful acts at sea.

No one should be taking the law into their own hands - the law of the sea must be paramount for all parties in all circumstances.

Safety at sea is one of Australia's foremost priorities and must be paramount.

The Australian Government calls for restraint, calm and respect for the law.

The Australian Government takes a strong stance to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and continues to collaborate with international partners to do so - including CCAMLR mechanisms such as at-sea inspections, surveillance and enforcement, port inspections, catch documentation scheme, diplomatic representations and in-country training.

We are working to increase regional engagement and cooperation through the South East Asian Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Practices (RPOA). The RPOA has agreed to deny port entry, other than for emergency purposes to any vessel that is on an illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing list.

These measures are proving to be very effective. For example, since 2012 Australia has shared information on vessel sightings through the RPOA network and Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesian have denied port access to, or detained and inspected, a number of vessels.

In November the Australian Government announced Australia's Second National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Government continues to strengthen regional relationships and cooperation around IUU fishing and we have seen a considerable reduction in the instance of IUU fishing as a result of our multi-pronged approach.

Regular patrols of Australia's maritime borders are a strong deterrent to illegal foreign fishers and the amount of illegal fishing has decreased significantly from 367 vessels in 2005-06 to seven vessels in 2012-13.

We don't restrict ourselves to the narrow unimaginative approach proposed by the Greens.

261214 Statement re Sea Shepherd's activities in the Southern Ocean
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