16 Mar 2016

Operation Tautai infringements under investigation

10:14 am on 16 March 2016

The authorities in the Cook Islands are investigating a number of fishing infringements following this month's successful joint maritime surveillance mission Operation Tautai.

Regional fisheries officers carried out ten inspections of fishing vessels in the northern Cook Islands waters during the ten day mission in the waters and high seas between the Cook Islands, Kiribati and French Polynesia.

A purse seine vessel and a transiting fishing vessel were also boarded.

Purse Seine fishing

Purse Seine fishing Photo: Supplied

Some minor infringements were reported as well as infringements relating to breaches of the Cook Islands Shark Regulations.

The operation was a joint mission with France and also involved a New Zealand Airforce plane.

Two Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources fisheries compliance officers accompanied the crew of the Police Patrol Boat Te Kukupa on the mission hosted by the Maritime Inter Agencies Centre (MIAC) in Papeete.

The MIAC was created in September 2011 and has become the Polynesian counterpart of the coast-guard centre in France.

Operation Tautai is part of the QUAD nation's (France, NZ, Australia, and US) assistance to Pacific Island countries against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.