Illegal fishing and people smuggling

8 July 2010

Associate Professor Ben Saul commented on a report that links the decrease in illegal fishing boats detected in Australian waters with an increase in people smuggling.

In an interview with The Australian, Associate Professor Saul said that while those who are caught fishing illegally are fined and deported, those help asylum-seekers are automatically jailed.

He added that Australia was punishing "incredibly poor people trying to make a living" and urged prosecutors to consider their discretion not to charge the crew of people-smuggling boats.

He said the government had focused its resources on minor players who were easier to catch and could be used to make a political statement, rather than pursue "those higher up the chain that aren't on the boats and are really the beneficiaries of organised crime in the area".

View the entire article - Poachers turn to asylum trade - The Australian

Contact: Greg Sherington

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