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Operation Tui Moana 2024: Pacific Region Combats Illegal Unreported And Unregulated (IUU) Fishing

Combatting IUU fishing to promote sustainable fisheries across the Pacific is a key outcome of Operation Tui Moana 2024 (OPTM24), which came to a close today.

The two- week long Operation saw the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and its Members, the Pacific Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group (Pacific QUADs) and partners, safeguarding the invaluable marine resources of Pacific Island nations and the Western Central Pacific Ocean.

FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, highlighted the significance of the FFA-led Operation Tui Moana.

"This operation exemplifies the spirit of regional collaboration and determination among Pacific Island nations. By tackling IUU fishing head-on, we are not only preserving our marine resources but also securing the livelihoods and food security of our people.

“Operation Tui Moana reinforces FFA's commitment to sustainable fisheries management and maritime security in the Pacific,” said Dr Tupou-Roosen.

Nine FFA Members participated (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu) alongside technology partners, assets and personnel from the Pacific QUADs- Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States.

Operation Tui Moana was conducted in the combined area of the seven participating Members’ Economic Exclusion Zones (EEZ’s) and the adjacent high seas pockets in an area of operation (AO) approximately six million square kilometres which is approximately the land mass of Australia.

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Operation Tui Moana, placed an emphasis on boarding activities, cooperative surveillance engagements amongst FFA Members and the Pacific QUADs countries, ensuring Members complete enforcement actions to address IUU fishing and potential violations, and the use of remote sensing information to drive the intelligence-led operation.

There were over 500 vessel contacts during the Operation using air, surface and remote-sensing platforms, with a total of 80 boardings in port and at sea.

As part of the outcome of MDA analysis and inspections, there were 10 vessels of interest (VOI) detected and reported to Members for further investigation. Potential infringements include non-compliance with national controls and WCPFC conservation management measures.

As part of the the FFA Secretariats approach to enhance and strengthen capability of Members, the Operation kicked off with pre-op training on 6 - 10 May 2024, involving 22 secondees from the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Australia Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Fiji Fisheries and Navy, New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI), Samoa Fisheries and Maritime Police, Tonga Fisheries and Navy, Tuvalu Fisheries and Maritime Police, United States Coast Guard (USCG), and partners from Starboard Maritime Intelligence system, Joint Analytical Cell (Global Fishing Watch, IMCS Network and Skylight), Canadian Government Dark Vessel Detection (DVD), US Military Joint Integrated Task Force West (JIATF-W (Amentum)) and Pacific Community (SPC).

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