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Operation Kurukuru A Success

Operation Kurukuru A Success
CPO Saimoni Raleba (left), and AB Iliasa Lagani on board the Navy vessel Kula yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
October 26
00:02 2014

Fiji Navy’s Operation Kurukuru played a major role in the Forum Fisheries Agency’s (FFA) Pacific region annual maritime surveillance sweep of Pacific fishing waters.

Fiji Navy’s Commander John Fox said other foreign countries had joined the operation which was launched 10 years ago specifically for maritime survelliance.

Yesterday Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) reported that it had netted a record 12 vessels in potential breach of their fishing licences.

Commander Fox said the naval boat Kula had just returned from the operation last Friday.

He said a report from the Kula on patrolling Fiji’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) confirmed that none of the netted 12 vessels was caught fishing illegally in Fiji’s EEZ.

“All fishing vessels with in Fiji’s EEZ had licences,” he said.

Meanwhile, France had helped the Kula in the current operation.

Vessels nabbed by Fisheries Maritime Police from the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Palau are flagged to Thailand, the Philippines and Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

All the vessels, Commander Fox said, were part of ‘Operation Kurukuru’.

He said countries that were part of this operation used their own vessels to patrol their own EEZs and carried out their own investigations.

In this latest operation, RNZI  has reported that 114 boardings of fishing vessels and 1011 sightings of vessels were made across the EEZs of 14 Pacific nations involved in the ‘Operation Kurukuru’ maritime surveillance exercise. The report said the regional sweep, launched on Wednesday last week, ended its 101th and final day last Friday.

FFA’s director-general James Movick said further details on the alleged infringements were an operational matter and would be dealt with at the national level.

But he thinks the findings demonstrate the level of standards and effectiveness which FFA partners are applying in the area of maritime surveillance.

He says through operations like ‘Kurukuru’, Pacific nations as custodians of their oceanic resources are sending a message to anyone fishing without, or in breach of, their licences that their watching, their activity is being recorded, and they will be caught.

Kurukuru 2014 covered an area of approximately 30 million square kilometres – including the EEZs of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Fisheries surveillance and enforcement staff from all of these countries worked together with their Quadrilateral Defence Co-operation counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States over the two weeks of round the clock surveillance, data analysis, reporting and information sharing and, ultimately, enforcement operations.

Australia’s Fisheries Management Authority, the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources, and NZ’s National Maritime Co-ordination Centre provided analysts to aid the operation in the Surveillance Centre while Vanuatu ship-riders worked with patrol boats in Palau.




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