Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Wahyudi

Year: 
2016-2017
Category: 
Environment
Location: 
Northern Territory

On 9 December 2016 in the Darwin Local Court, the Indonesian master of the BERKAH III pleaded guilty to two offences relating to illegal fishing and was fined $15 000. The fisherman had just completed a term of imprisonment at Darwin Correctional Centre for an unpaid fine relating to a previous conviction.

The BERKAH III—an Indonesian longline vessel—was spotted by air on 5 November 2016 approximately 150 nautical miles north-west of Cape Londonderry, which is the northernmost point of mainland Western Australia—and within the Australian Fishing Zone.

Early the next morning, the Australian Border Force cutter Cape St George made visual contact and made a number of requests for the boat to stop for boarding, which the master ignored. After a brief chase, Australian Border Force officials boarded the boat and approximately 200–500 kilograms of fish along with shark fins were found on the deck and in the hold.

After cautioning the master of the boat, Australian officials interviewed him and discovered the boat’s homeport was Kupang in Indonesia, and that it had been at sea for five days.

The boat was not an Australian one or licensed to fish in Australian waters.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority confiscated the vessel and later destroyed it by burning.

Charge / Sentence

Following a guilty plea, on 9 December 2016 Wahyudi was fined $15 000 in relation to:

  • 1 charge of Having foreign boat equipped for fishing—strict liability offence— contrary to subsection 101(2) Fisheries Management Act 1991
  • 1 charge of Using a foreign boat for fishing in Australian Fishing Zone—strict liability offence—contrary to section 100(2) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991

A crew member called Saiben who had been previously apprehended with Wahyudi on a different boat, was charged in relation to:

  • 1 charge of Using a foreign boat for fishing in Australian Fishing Zone—strict liability offence—contrary to section 100(2) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991