28 Oct 2017

Taiwanese vessel seized in Pacific fisheries surveillance op

11:40 am on 28 October 2017

A Taiwan purse seining vessel suspected of illegal fishing was seized this month in the Federated States of Micronesia.

It was one of more than a hundred vessels boarded in an annual Pacific-wide fisheries surveillance operation conducted by the Forum Fisheries Agency.

Eugene Pangelinan

Eugene Pangelinan Photo: FFA

The purse seiner was boarded and inspected by one of FSM's three Patrol boats during the ten-day Operation Kurukuru 2017 earlier this month.

An investigation is underway into whether the Taiwanese vessel's activity in Micronesia breached license conditions.

That is just one of 480 vessels that were detected by optical sensors deployed in Kurukuru.

The operation interrogated 144 vessels closely at sea, with a total of 111 boardings at sea and in port.

Operation Kurukuru 2017 involved more than 500 officials across the Pacific, covering more than 21.2 million square kilometres of ocean.

The operation was conducted by a range of assets of FFA member states and partners including 12 patrol boats and 15 national maritime headquarters.

There was also added "aerial and surface support" from Australia, France, New Zealand and the US.

According to the head of FSM's National Oceanic Resources Management Authority, Kurukuru had become an important tool in fisheries management.

Eugene Pangelinan said it offered FSM a much-needed intelligence-sharing capability.

"We want those vessels given the right to fish in our EEZs to take their license conditions seriously, or face prosecution," said Mr Pangelin.