Latest News

National News

Illegal PNG fishers caught in Aust waters

More than a dozen illegal fishers have been fined for poaching crabs and fish in Australia's far north.

A total of 14 Papua New Guinea nationals recently received fines in their home country after they were caught by Australian authorities last year while fishing for crab and finfish off Saibai Island, one of Queensland's northernmost islands.

The anglers from the village of Mabaduan, just a few kilometres from the island, were spotted by Maritime Border Command.

Under the terms of the Torres Strait Treaty, PNG nationals suspected of fishing illegally in the Torres Strait are repatriated.

The group received fines totalling $A1505 which must be paid within 14 days or they face prison time.

According to a statement from the Australian Border Force, the local magistrate noted the boats and fishing gear had already been confiscated by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

The AFMA's Peter Venslovas, said AFMA illegal fishing was a serious matter and "there will be no leeway given to those who break the law".

Maritime Border Command Acting Commander Commodore Malcolm Wise said the convictions should send a strong message.

"Protecting Australia's unique marine environment is one of our key priorities and this conviction should send a clear message to those seeking to circumvent the law," he said.

© AAP 2019