The Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, congratulates Sea Shepherd for the success of Operation Icefish, a campaign to disrupt the Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing by organised crime gangs in the Southern Ocean waters surrounding Antarctica.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “I congratulate Captains Peter Hammarstedt and Sid Chakravarty, and the crews of the Bob Barker and Sam Simon for their successful efforts in preventing pirate vessels from illegally plundering the Southern Ocean.
“The successes of Operation Icefish include locating and pursuing three IUU vessels (the Thunder, the Kunlun and the Yongding) including a world record pursuit of the Thunder, and hauling in a massive 72 kilometres of illegal and environmentally devastating fishing nets.
“I particularly want to congratulate the Sea Shepherd on their cooperation with Interpol, Australian and New Zealand authorities and with the legal toothfish fishing operators including the Australian fishing company Austral Fisheries.
“Operation Icefish follows on from the Greens-instigated Inquiry into Australia’s management of the Southern Ocean that highlighted the continued dangers of IUU fishing in the waters surrounding Antarctica.
“The Australian Government has been failing across multiple fronts to adequately fulfil our responsibilities in the Southern Ocean including through Search and Rescue and the prevention of IUU fishing.
“In the lead up the last election the Liberals promised to send the purpose-built ice-rated ACV Ocean Protector to patrol the Southern Ocean against IUU fishing. They have failed to do this despite the Senate Inquiry recommending they do so.
“Like with their efforts to stop whaling, the Sea Shepherd has again done the Government’s job, and with Operation Icefish it has been a tremendous success.
“Next Summer, the Japanese harpoon ships will be back in Australia’s Antarctic waters and I hope that unlike with Operation Icefish, the Australian Government is more than an idle spectator to Sea Shepherds efforts,” he concluded.