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PM on Ross Sea patrol flight

PM on Ross Sea patrol flight

Prime Minister Helen Clark travelled on yesterday’s patrol to the Ross Sea, one of several undertaken by the RNZAF each year to deter and detect any illegal fishing.

The patrols are made in support of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which sets catch levels and management regimes in Antarctic waters.

“New Zealand is a founder member of CCAMLR, and we are committed to ensuring that Antarctic fisheries are well managed and conserved,” Helen Clark said.

“For the past seven years, New Zealand has made a substantial contribution to surveillance of the Ross Sea area. So far no pirate fishing has been detected there, despite the prevalence of such fishing elsewhere in the Southern Ocean.

“That excellent record is a tribute to the professional expertise of our Defence Force, whose efforts are largely responsible for deterring the poachers,” Helen Clark said.

The surveillance flights gather information on any vessels within the CCAMLR zone. This is analysed in Wellington, and any necessary follow-up action is taken with the home countries of the vessels concerned. The flights are supplemented by other surveillance activities, such as reporting by New Zealand Government personnel on vessels in the area.

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