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Planet Ark World Environment News Australia Welcomes Conviction of Sea Bass Poachers

Date: 25-Sep-06
Country: AUSTRALIA

A district court heard on Friday authorities boarded the FV Taruman in international waters on evidence it had been fishing, unregistered, in its waters near Macquarie Island. "The conviction sends a clear message to the international fishing community that Australia will not tolerate illegal exploitation of its fisheries resources," fisheries minister Eric Abetz said in a statement.

The Taruman was carrying 143 tonnes of Patagonian toothfish, also known as Chilean sea bass, when it was boarded south of Tasmania in September last year. The catch was sold this month for A$1.5 million.

The maximum penalty for fishing illegally in Australia's fishing zone is A$825,000 (US$620,000).

The captain and fishing master of the Taruman were charged while the rest of the crew was deported. The two are due to be sentenced on Monday.
(US$1=A$1.33)

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Reuters
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