Foreign fisheries enforcement: do not pass go, proceed slowly to jail - is Australia playing by the rules?

Baird, Rachel (2007) Foreign fisheries enforcement: do not pass go, proceed slowly to jail - is Australia playing by the rules? University of New South Wales Law Journal, 30 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 0313-0096


The number of reported apprehensions of foreign fishing vessels ('FFVs') in the northern reaches of Australia's exclusive economic zone ('EEZ') continues to climb. In late September 2006 government figures suggested that, on average, one FFV per day is apprehended.1 This adds up to a considerable number of fishers to be processed by Australian authorities. Indeed, the Northern Territory Government has recently raised concerns about the capacity of its courts and jails to deal with the increasing numbers of fishers.2 It is this matter of processing which forms the focus of this paper. In particular, two issues warrant detailed examination. These are the passage of time between apprehension and court appearance, and the increasing practice of the prosecution to seek jail terms for
what are, in substance, regulatory fisheries offences. The issue of default imprisonment for non-payment of fines is also examined.
There has been an emerging practice where there is evidence of resistance to arrest, to charge FFV crews under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth),3 rather than s 108(1) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Cth).4 The reasoning appears to be that this characterises the offence as something other than a regulatory fisheries offence and casts legitimacy over the imposition of jail terms that would otherwise be unlawful under article 73(3) of the Convention on the Law of the Sea ('LOSC').' This paper examines whether this practice accords with international law.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Awaiting publisher permission.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Law
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2010 12:10
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2016 01:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: foreign fishing vessels; fisheries
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180117 International Trade Law
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160607 International Relations
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070403 Fisheries Management
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9403 International Relations > 940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified

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