Abandoned fishing gear from foreign fishing vessels removed from our water – NT Seafood Council

The Northern Territory Seafood Council congratulates Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Border Force on their joint efforts to remove foreign abandoned fishing gear located in waters near the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory.

‘Removing discarded or abandoned fishing nets from the marine environment is vital, as they attract, trap and kill marine life and also pose a navigation hazard putting lives at risk,’ said Northern Territory Seafood Council Chief Executive Officer, Ms Katherine Winchester.

‘The practice of discarding or abandoning fishing gear is not condoned by the NT Seafood Council.

‘Often nets found in Northern Territory waters have come from more Northern seas and due to the currents often end up near Darwin or in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

‘Net identification is an important role to better learn where these nets are coming from and our understanding is that most abandoned nets, especially fish trawl nets in the Arafura Sea, come from illegal fishing activities by Thailand, South Korea and China.

‘There is a shared passion and a dedicated effort to remove these nets from our oceans by a range of groups including professional fishers, marine rangers, Australian Maritime Fisheries Authority, Australian Border Force, Land Councils, GhostNets Australia, Australian Defence Force and so many others who all help in removing these deadly hazards.

‘NT Seafood Council members play an active role in removing abandoned foreign fishing gear from the region, and when the nets are too large they are reported for a co-ordinated removal.

‘Incredible efforts continue to keep removing abandoned gear, some of which have been in the water for many years, but disturbingly some of these nets are relatively new. Research and initiatives to reduce any new entry of abandoned gear to the marine environment are critical,’ said Ms Winchester.

Media Contact: Donna English 08 8981 5194

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