Investigations into four serious breaches of vessel fishing licenses have opened up after another regional fisheries surveillance sweep in the Pacific tuna fishery.
Operation Island Chief, a ten-day annual operation which ended August 4, involved nine Pacific patrol boats from the 10 participating FFA member nations Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Palau, PNG, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Island Chief 2017 covered more than 14 million square kilometres of Ocean. Of the four ‘QUAD’ nations who offer their defence and military assets to support regional surveillance, Australia, NZ and the US participated in Island Chief 2017.
Operation Island Chief 2017 saw a total of 1,989 vessel detections via radar, a record of 117 at sea and in-port vessel boardings, and infringements involving four vessels — three flagged to China and one to Chinese Taipei.
The infringements, in Vanuatu and the High seas, centred around non reporting or misreporting of critical information, and unmarked gear.
All cases and investigations will be led by the national authorities.