Crocodiles, Australian Border Force Team Up to Deter Illegal International Fishers, At Least Two Indonesians Killed by the Reptiles

Crocodiles and the Australian Border Force (ABF) have teamed up to deter illegal international fishers away from the waters of Australia. In December 2023, crocodiles killed two Indonesian fishers and injured three others off Western Australia’s northern Kimberley coast, according to reports. In recent years, there have been unreported deaths of Indonesian fishers in Australian waters.

For decades, illegal fishing has been a significant commercial and territorial problem in the remote waters of Northern Australia. This maritime issue intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein the number of boats caught fishing illegally has spiked, according to local sources. The unauthorized fishing activity also led to concerns of environmental damage, in addition to the unreported deaths at sea.

It is unclear if all deaths of Indonesian fishermen (both reported and unreported) were caused by drowning due to capsized boats or crocodile attacks. However, it is clear that the ABF is strategically using crocodiles to fend off the foreign fishers, as mentioned earlier. The threat posed by crocodiles is expected to help in the operations of the ABF in Australian waters.

Illegal International Fishers Off Australia

Crocodiles, Australian Border Force Team Up to Deter Illegal International Fishers, At Least Two Indonesians Killed by the Reptiles
(Photo : Photo by Daniel Pelaez Duque on Unsplash)

In December, Australian authorities destroyed 10 Indonesian boats and detained 79 crew in the Kimberley Marine Park, as the fishing activity of the illegal international fishers continued in Australia’s northern waters. Along with these operations, fishers have also faced the threat of crocodile attacks with three Indonesian deaths since September 2023, based on reports as of Wednesday, January 24.

Details of the wild animal attacks at the foreign fishers started when Indonesian media last year reported separate crocodile attacks in September and October, including one fatal, while an Indonesian vessel crew were fishing in the area. In October 2023, a fisherman hailing from Rote Island, Indonesia, was apparently bitten by an Australian crocodile while fishing in mangroves of the country’s northern waters.

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Australian Crocodiles

Australia is home to two species of crocodiles such as the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni). Although saltwater crocodiles can live in the sea, they still prefer estuaries and freshwater swamps across Northern Australia. In previous years, there have been reports of sightings and even attacks from crocodiles in the sea surrounding the country.

Earlier in January 2024, a nine-year-old boy was wounded after being bitten by a crocodile while swimming in Australia’s Northern Territory. Also, earlier this month, local authorities reported a crocodile attack on a fisherman in Queensland. The fisherman narrowly escaped the attack, which occurred north of Mackay.

Currently, there are estimated to be 200,000 saltwater crocodiles in Australia, with most individuals found in areas surrounding the city of Darwin in Northern Australia and the Mary River in Queensland, according to Australia’s Kakadu National Park Tours. Regardless of their location, both local and international fishers are still at risk of crocodile attacks in the mentioned Australian waters.

Related Article: Missing Fisherman Prompts Widespread Australia Crocodile Hunt for Two Monster Reptiles

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