Western Pacific illegal fishers targeted
13 potential breaches of fishing laws in the Western Pacific Ocean have been identified in an 11-day operation which saw six foreign fishing vessels undergo investigation.
Officers from Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency task force within the Australian Border Force (ABF), and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) led Operation Nasse to deter illegal fishing in some of the most intensely fished sea-lanes in the region, the Western and Central Pacific Oceans.
Acting commander for MBC, Jo Crooks, said: “This multinational effort showcases the strengthened patrolling of these waters and efforts to protect the maritime and fisheries environment of the broader region.
“Information gathered will contribute to a more accurate picture of fishing activity and the health of fish stocks in the areas patrolled.”
The multi-lateral regional maritime surveillance operation between Australia, United States, France and New Zealand, ran from 3-13 July and covered the waters between Exclusive Economic Zones of regional countries.
Its objective was to board and inspect foreign-flagged fishing vessels to verify compliance with measures adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.
Together, the operation resulted in the boarding of 27 foreign fishing vessels with 30 potential breaches of fisheries laws being reported.
Agencies from each of the participating countries collaborated in the planning and coordination of assets as well as providing an at sea response capability and air surveillance support during the operation.
This included an ABF Dash-8 surveillance aircraft and Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Fourcroy with officers from AFMA on board.
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