The Royal Australian Navy has joined the fight against illegal fishing around Niue, securing greater maritime patrols of the Pacific island nation’s waters by having neighboring countries’ boats patrol Niue waters.
The agreement was reached during a planning conference on Niue held in late April.
Maritime Surveillance Adviser to Tonga, Lieutenant Commander David Ince and his counterparts in Samoa, Lieutenant Commander Mal Parsons, and the Cook Islands, Lieutenant Commander Tony Grubb of the Royal New Zealand Navy attended.
Lieutenant Commander David Ince said Pacific class patrol boats from Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands were likely to be patrolling the tuna-rich waters of Niue soon.
“As Niue has a significant sized Exclusive Economic Zone and no Pacific class patrol boats to discourage illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, the opportunity to share some of the ‘love’ to Niue presented itself,” Lieutenant-Commander Ince said.
In 1983 the Australian Government created the Pacific Patrol Boat Program to design and provide suitable patrol boats to nearby island nations, along with training and infrastructure to support these ships.
From 1983 to 1997, 22 patrol boats were delivered to 12 countries, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu.
Niue is located 2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand and lies within the triangle formed by Tonga to the west, Samoa to the north, and the Cook Islands to the east
It has a population of 1,200, no sheltered harbour, and only one flight, via Auckland, per week.