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Air Force Orion Snaps Suspected Illegal Fisher

New Zealand Defence Force Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

29 November 2004

Air Force Orion Snaps Suspected Illegal Fisher

An Air Force Orion has located and taken photographs of a vessel suspected of fishing illegally in the Cook Islands Economic Exclusion Zone.

The vessel was escorted to Rarotonga over the weekend, where the skipper and seven crewmembers are to be questioned.

The Orion initially spotted the fishing vessel last week, while on a routine patrol around the Pacific Islands.

Air Force personnel on board the Orion covertly monitored the vessel, while reporting it's position to a patrol boat sent from the Cooks Maritime Surveillance Centre.

After a two-day chase the fishing vessel was boarded and the skipper apprehended.

"Our Orion crew have again demonstrated New Zealand's dedication to help our Pacific Island neighbours protect their valuable fish stocks," says Squadron Leader Glen Graham, from Headquarters Joint Force New Zealand.

"Their persistence and professionalism makes me very confident that in future our combined efforts will become even more effective in deterring the exploitation of fragile marine resources in the South Pacific", he said

ENDS


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