Reports from New Caledonia say the man was presented to a judge and remanded in custody.
His vessel was intercepted by the French military last week near the Chesterfield Islands which lies about 500 kilometers off the main island.
The navy vessel took the 17 crew on board and sailed them to Noumea.
Last month, the captains of three Vietnamese blue boats were jailed for illegal fishing.
Their crew however escaped on two boats from Noumea.
Photo: AFP A Vietnamese "blue boat".