Operation locates ‘dark’ boats in Fiji’s EEZ
Two unidentified ‘dark targets’ were found in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone by the New Zealand offshore patrol boat HMNZS Otago. According to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Chinese-flagged Longliners did not have automatic location transponders. These are required equipment by the FFA and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission — the first rule for fishing in Pacific waters as it allows for tracking and remote monitoring of location and activity by Pacific maritime officials, and the FFA’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC). The find comes after Operation Tui Moana/ Islands Chief for 2016(OPTMIC16), a 10-day regional surveillance operation which ended last Friday.
The surveillance involved full or partial participation from all 17 Forum Fisheries Agency member nations, as well as the Defence Force assets of the ‘Quads’ – Australia, France, New Zealand, and the United States. FFA director general James Movick said: “The detection of these vessels is a credit to active participation and communications support by Pacific nations working across the 30 million square kilometres of ocean covered by OPTMIC16, as FFA members act together against IUU fishing in their own and neighbouring EEZs. “As the investigations and follow up work continues into the outcomes of this operation, I thank the participating members and our quad partners for their strong support for vigilance over fishing activity across our shared oceanic resource.” Officers from Australia, New Zealand, FSM, Fiji, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the US were part of the numbers at the RFSC.
The U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon, operated by the ‘Mad Foxes’ of Patrol Squadron FIVE (VP-5), in Nadi. The aircraft was here to support the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) operation Tui Moana. US Ambassador Judith Cefkin, (middle with cap), and Commander John Fox of the Fijian Navy (third from left).