The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have just completed almost five weeks of fisheries patrols in the high seas of the South Pacific.
Compliance officers from MPI boarded and inspected 19 vessels during the operation, which was supported by Navy patrol vessel HMNZS OTAGO and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft.
Six of the 19 vessels inspected were found to be in breach of the conservation and management measures set by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
This year’s patrols covered international waters adjacent to the Exclusive Economic Zones of Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Matthew and Hunter Islands, Tonga, Niue, the Cook Islands and New Zealand.
The first phase of the patrols involved Australia, France and New Zealand and marked the first time the three countries conducted fisheries patrols together. The second stage was conducted in the high seas south of the Cook Islands and involved only New Zealand.