23 May 2011

Pacific region makes gains in combating illegal fishing, says FFA

6:32 am on 23 May 2011

The Forum Fisheries Agency says member countries have made significant gains in combatting illegal fishing in the past two years.

The FFA is attributing significant improvement in surveillance of exclusive economic zones to more cohesion of members' resources and capabilities, as well as better-trained personnel.

It's currently running a surveillance operation in an un-named part of the Pacific using New Zealand, Australian and French airforce capabilities, plus four patrol vessels.

The FFA's surveillance operations officer, Martin Campbell, says results from a similar operation last month reflected the success of monitoring, control and surveillance programmes

"Whereas two years ago, that would probably reap two or three apprehensions, in the last operation, despite boarding 47 vessels, not one was apprehended. And five days into the operation now, so far there's been no sign of illegal activity. So we're heartened by that."