AFMA project targets Pacific illegal fishers

AFMA IUU operation 27 suspected IUU-related violations have been identified in an operation involving AFMA and international partners. Credit: AFMA

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and its international partners have wrapped up an operation focusing on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Pacific Ocean on the high seas outside Australian waters.

Over four weeks, AFMA hosted representatives from Australia’s Maritime Border Command, the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, the US Coast Guard, the French Ministère des Armées and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), as part of Operation Nasse. The participating nations, all members of the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group, worked together to coordinate at sea inspections, aerial surveillance and maritime intelligence sharing.

AFMA’s general manager of fisheries operations, Peter Venslovas, said the operation successfully demonstrated the working group’s ability to coordinate aircraft and surface patrol boats from all four countries to monitor fishing operations and target IUU fishing on the high seas.

34 vessels inspected

“On-water officers identified some fishers not complying with the Conservation and Management Measures adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), an international agreement Australia is signatory to,” Mr Venslovas said.

“The WCPFC seeks to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks like tuna, billfish and marlin, in the Pacific Ocean.

“There were 34 fishing vessels inspected, with 27 suspected violations identified, which have been reported to the relevant flag States for action.”

He added: “By helping to protect these shared resources from illegal fishing, joint operations like Operation Nasse contribute to the sustainability of valuable commercial and recreational fisheries that target tuna and billfish as they migrate through Australian waters.”


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