26 Nov 2009

Operation Bigeye technology nets suspected illegal fishing vessels in central Pacific

7:54 pm on 26 November 2009

Police involved in an eight-nation, 10-day fisheries operation have boarded about 30 vessels but made no arrests.

Operation Bigeye this year's covered almost just over three million two hundred square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean, using police from Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Papua New Guinea.

Australia, New Zealand and the United States also take part in the annual exercise, which is co-ordinated by the Forum Fisheries Agency.

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, says technology such as Google Earth has revolutionised the detection of illegal fishing.

"I was talking this morning to Glen Joseph who's the director of fisheries in the Marshall Islands and he said 10, 15 years ago these guys would have a map out on the table and be trying to plot where the vessels were and he said the positioning that they had say 10 years ago was within 10 or 20 miles of where the boat might actually be whereas now it's down to a few feet."

Giff Johnson in the Marshall Islands.

Operation Bigeye finishes tomorrow.