Media Release: Chinese authorities impose penalties against illegal fishing operators

The Turnbull Government welcomes the news that Chinese authorities have taken action against the operator of the Chinese fishing vessel Yuan Da 19 which were found to be fishing illegally in our waters. 

Chinese authorities have terminated all of the company's fishing licences and banned it from engaging in deep sea fishing activities as well as imposing a USD $300,000 fine for misreporting its catch of southern bluefin tuna.

The sanctions come following a boarding of the Yuan Da 19 by an Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) officer during a patrol with the Australian Border Force (ABF) in September last year.

Following DNA testing of fish samples taken during the boarding, it was found that the vessel had been used for catching southern bluefin tuna and other species on the high seas that weren't recorded in logbooks – a requirement of fishing operations conducted in Central and Western Pacific region.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said that the conviction was an excellent example of how information sharing between nations is making a difference in combatting illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

"Through information sharing and working with our international counterparts, we are fighting the global issue that is illegal fishing," Mr Dutton said.

"The Australian Government congratulates Chinese authorities on taking action and sending a strong message to other companies seeking to do the wrong thing."

The Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the offence was a serious violation under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Conservation and Management Measures.

"Illegal fishing violates the very rules and regulations in place to help ensure the sustainability of our fisheries," Minister Ruston said.

"Australia's global partnerships are pivotal to preventing this crime and the Government remains committed to tackling this issue.

"It is great to see the work of Australian authorities like AFMA and ABF leading to results in the global war against illegal fishing."

Other sanctions issued for the breach of regional fisheries regulations include: the managers of company being 'black-listed' by Chinese authorities, meaning they are is no longer permitted to engage in and/or work for any business relating to distant water fishery activities, and the revocation of the captain's fishing licence.

More information on how Australia is working to combat illegal fishing can be found at

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