Royal New Zealand Navy offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington has completed two fishing monitoring operations in the Pacific.
The operation involved identifying, hailing and boarding vessels of interest on the high seas of the South West Pacific.
In total, 18 surveillance flights and 14 high seas boardings’ and inspections were undertaken.
The officers identified eight potential compliance issues and these were reported to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the flag states of the vessels.
HMNZS Wellington then departed to support the FFA for Operation Island Chief, which involved patrolling the north western Fijian exclusive economic zone and the high seas pocket between Fiji and Vanuatu.
MPI Director of Compliance Services, Gary Orr says being at sea and being able to board vessels and inspect their gear, systems, and freezers provides them a greater understanding of compliance with conservation management measures.
Orr says these rules are there to protect threatened species that run the risk of being affected by tuna fishing.
He adds it also ensures that this important fishery is sustainable as it is a critical resource for the economies of the Pacific Island countries.
Nearly 60 per cent of the world’s tuna stocks is fished in the Pacific and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency believes approximately 192,000 tons of tuna is associated with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing there each year.