Thursday, 15 May 2008
Questions without Notice
These crews, all of whom were involved in legal fishing, will be kept together and accompanied by a detention service provider officer until Saturday when the fishers will be returned to Indonesia. The minister also advises that his department is developing a management strategy for the remainder of the illegal fishermen detained at the centre. This will include the engagement of additional staff to expedite the number of illegal foreign fishers at the detention centre as quickly as possible.
The government does not resile from its tough stance on illegal fishing. However, as can be the case in any law enforcement activity, genuine errors can be made. Given the numbers of people involved, I felt it was important to inform the House directly of these matters. I also note, with our gratitude, the cooperation and assistance of the Indonesian authorities, and the work we do together with Indonesia to combat illegal fishing. The Indonesian consulate is expected to provide travel documents for this group by noon tomorrow to assist their return to Indonesia.