hydrophonesFive hydrophones will assist in detecting illegal fishing activity. Photo: Australian Border Force

New underwater technology that will help combat illegal foreign fishing has been successfully deployed across the Torres Strait in Australia.

Five hydrophones were dropped to the ocean floor in strategic locations across the region to listen to vessel traffic and behaviour in real time, and assist in detecting illegal fishing and the movements of vessels involved in other illicit activities. About 15cm long, the hydrophone is attached to a larger mooring device and submerged underwater so it remains completely covert.

The technology was deployed by Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multiagency body within the Australian Border Force (ABF), in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisations (CSIRO), which developed it.

Clear warning

Rear Admiral, Commander MBC, Lee Goddard, said: “Protecting Australia’s unique and rich maritime domain is one of the MBC’s core priorities. With illegal foreign fishing posing threats to sustainable fisheries management around the world, we are determined to do even more to protect Australia from this type of criminal activity.

“The deployment of hydrophones in the Torres Strait will bolster and complement our strong presence in the region, and allow us to deploy resources quickly, and exactly where they are needed. Our message is do not even try – we will catch you and you will face the full force of the law when we do.”

Peter Venslovas, AFMA’s general manager of operations, said: “Fisheries surveillance in the Torres Strait undertaken by MBC and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is an effective and well developed partnership. The addition of innovative, new tools and technology will be vital to enhancing our presence and assist in the detection of illegal fishing activities.”

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