Defence units from Australia and Indonesia recently united to patrol fisheries located between the two nations to ensure that lawful practices were being used in the nation's respective exclusive economic zones.
Patrolling the zone and seabed jurisdiction area was the Royal Australian Navy's Armidale class patrol boat HMAS Wollongong, which conducted a number of boardings to ensure that fishing activities conducted in those waters complied with Australian and international law.
Wollongong's Executive Officer, Lieutenant Mark Doggett, conducted the boarding evolutions.
"Fisheries enforcement activities are among the more rewarding ones we conduct," Lieutenant Doggett said.
"Although there's a lot of dead fish, and the sights and smells can be very confronting, it gives perspective to how fortunate our living conditions are on board an Australian warship.
"Working on fisheries related enforcement is generally proactively focused as it’s about protection of the maritime environment and the life and resources in that environment."
During each boarding of a fishing vessel the boarding team verified that the catch onboard complied with regulations before taking the time to educate the crews about what fishing activities and catch are legal within the different areas.
Providing subject matter fisheries expertise during the partols, called AUSINDO CORPAT, was Senior Fisheries Officer Brendan Rayner from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.
"The Australian Fisheries Management Authority works closely with the Maritime Border Command and the Navy to patrol and enforce fisheries activities throughout Australia's exclusive economic zones, and operations like AUSINDO CORPAT allow us to also work closely with partner nations, such as Indonesia,” Mr Rayner said.
"AUSINDO CORPAT 2016 targeted illegal, unreported and unregulated practices including the use of trawl and purse-seine nets - environmentally destructive practices that have recently been banned in Indonesian waters.
"We were able to identify a number of fish aggregation devices that are potentially being used by purse-seine netters, and boarded a number of vessels to verify compliance and to educate the crews about legal activities."
AUSINDO CORPAT is a coordinated patrol conducted by units of the Australian Defence Force under the command of the Maritime Border Command and units of the Indonesian Armed Forces.