FFA’s smallest fisheries surveillance
FFA’s smallest fisheries surveillance Operation still covers an area 22 times the size of New Zealand
HONIARA, 4 June, 2019 – Operation Tui Moana 2019 is the smallest regional fisheries surveillance operation conducted by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) yet it still covers a total area of six million square kilometres, equivalent to an area 22 times the size of New Zealand.
The twelve-day operation to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing activity ended on 31 May 2019. It involved seven FFA member nations – Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu, and the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group (QUADs) made up of Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States defence forces. It also included one of the FFA King Air aircraft from the Pacific Maritime Security Aerial Surveillance Programme operated by FFA.
During the Operation, 57 vessels were boarded and only five minor infringements were found including one vessel with a fish species that was not in accordance with its licence, another with an unsigned logbook after a day of fishing and one that was not carrying line cutters and de-hookers – a requirement for all longline vessels to help ensure they can promptly release sea turtles that are caught or entangled. These infringements have been reported to member countries for further investigation.
“FFA conducts four Operations every year and Tui Moana is the second this year. Lately we have found a steady decline in fisheries infringements and this is very likely due to our regular coordinated regional patrols,” said FFA’s Director of Fisheries Operations, Allan Rahari.
As a regional surveillance operation, Operation Tui Moana involved over one hundred personnel from across the region, with joint coordination led by the FFA’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) team.
During the operation eight police, fisheries and military personnel were based at the RFSC and trained in the use of the vessel monitoring systems and associated software.
“The Operation teaches them to experience how the Operations Room functions during a multi asset and nation Operation. The intention is for these officers to be able to utilize what they have learnt in the RFSC in their own headquarters during their own surveillance operations,” said Mr. Rahari.