A VIETNAMESE fishing boat has been caught off the coast of Gladstone suspected of illegally fishing in Australian waters.

The Vietnamese fishing boat was detected by Australian Border Force's Maritime Border Command 180 nautical miles off the coast of Gladstone, with the boat being apprehended. 

CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers.
CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers. ABF

The boat was intercepted by Border Force's Cutter Cape Wessel close to the Saumarez Reef where officers found more than 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers on board.

During the interception officers spotted the crew attempting to dump some of their catch.

CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers.
CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers. ABF

Diving equipment, including eight air lines, a compressor and navigational equipment were also found on the boat.

"The 13 Vietnamese crew members on board were apprehended, with the vessel and crew being escorted to Cairns for further investigation," the ABF media release said.

CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers.
CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers. ABF

"The men will be detained while AFMA considers charges under the Australian Fisheries Management Act."

It's the second Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone this month.

CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers.
CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers. ABF

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Peter Laver, praised another successful multi-agency operation, saying it continued to produce an effective response to the threat posed by illegal fishing.

"Illegal fishing threatens the sustainability of our unique marine environment and we continue to work with our partners to protect Australia's valuable marine resources," Rear Admiral Laver said.

"Our surveillance and response capabilities extend throughout the AEEZ to allow us to deter and apprehend illegal activity and foreign vessels seeking to conduct illegal fishing."

CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers.
CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers. ABF


AFMA's General Manager Fishing Operations, Mr Peter Venslovas, said this most recent apprehension demonstrated that those seeking to do the wrong thing would be caught.

"Illegal fishing undermines the very rules and regulations we have in place to ensure the economic and environmental sustainability of Australia's fisheries," he said.

"To protect our valuable and well-managed fisheries AFMA works together with government agencies to ensure that those doing the wrong thing are detected and prosecuted."

CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers.
CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers. ABF

Border Force continue to question the fishermen after the incident on November 19. 

More to come



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