90-2019 - The use of bait while fishing from international vessels in Australian waters

6 June 2019

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to all vessel masters, crew, passengers and shipping agents who represent international commercial and non-commercial vessels for the purposes of Australian biosecurity clearance.

What has changed?

The Department of Agriculture has become aware that people from some international vessels may be fishing while at anchorage and using international foodstuffs as bait.

This may include products for human consumption like seafood, prawn and octopus as well as other animal products like chicken and pork.

These foodstuffs could harbour pest and disease that could devastate Australia’s farmed or wild seafood populations. An example is the prawn white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) which impacted Australia’s prawn industry. As a result, increased biosecurity measures were introduced for importing uncooked prawn and prawn products to protect the industry which is worth more than $350 million a year.

All Biosecurity Status Documents (BSD) issued from the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) from the date of this notice, will include the following condition: Galley grinders, overboard waste discharge chutes, foodstuffs used as bait for fishing and swing bins must not be used in Australian ports or waters.

Biosecurity officers will monitor compliance with this requirement when undertaking vessel inspections. Industry stakeholders are reminded that under the Biosecurity Act 2015 a person commits an offence if they do not follow the directions of a biosecurity officer.

Further information

If you require further information, please call 1800 900 090 or email Seaports.