22 Mar 2017

Hefty fines see decline in illegal tuna fishing

7:19 am on 22 March 2017

The Forum Fisheries Agency says hefty fines along with consistent monitoring and surveillance are seeing a decline in the number of vessels caught fishing illegally in the Pacific.

This comes after the latest surveillance operation by the FFA saw only two major breaches of compliance by vessels in the region.

Nine Pacific countries ran the ten day operation Rai Balang 2017 which concluded last Friday.

The team leader at the FFA's surveillance centre, Commander Gavin Baker, said the last 3-5 years had seen a steady decline in both the severity and number of offences being committed in the Pacific tuna fishery.

"These are pragmatic businessmen and they realise that being hammered with a tens or hundreds or more thousands of dollars fine is bad for business."

"So a few dollars upfront to pay for the licenses and instructions to their skippers and their fishermen to follow the rules that is by far balanced by the fact that they are not getting done for the fines," he said.