RFMF Happy With NZ Naval Ship To Counter Illegal Fishing
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) is happy with the announcement made by New Zealand’s Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee for a naval ship from this country to be deployed to Fiji to help tackle illegal fishing in the region.
Chief of Staff Colonel Ratu Jone Kalouniwai said this was good news to them especially when two of the naval vessels were under repair.
He said this was also part of the Defence Cooperation between the two countries.
New Zealand’s Defence Minister says a naval ship from this country will be deployed to Fiji to help tackle illegal fishing in the region.
A report by RNZ said Mr Brownlee met his Fijian counterpart, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, at a South Pacific defence ministers’ meeting in Auckland to discuss issues including maritime surveillance.
He said an inshore patrol vessel will be deployed to Fiji for six months in May to combat the widespread problem.
According to Mr Brownlee, the increase in illegal fishing vessels from Vietnam, also known as “blue boats”, required counter-action.
“The full scope of it is a bit hard to estimate because you don’t always see who is out there taking the fish illegally,” Mr Brownlee explained, “and so we do need to make sure we help our near neighbours.”
He said Fijian authorities would be on board the vessel to work closely with the navy.
Col Kalouniwai said the arrival of the NZ naval was timely and thanked them for the help.
RNZ said Fiji’s defence ties with regional powers were quickly restored after the elections in 2014 by which time Suva had consolidated its Look North policy and strengthened ties with the armed forces of several Asian countries.
The Defence officials also discussed disaster response, peacekeeping developments as well as women in armed forces.