3 Jul 2014

Australia's new Pacific patrol boats will help monitor fishing

2:35 pm on 3 July 2014

Australian senator Richard Colbeck says Canberra's recently announced update of its Pacific patrol boats programme will help the monitoring of fisheries in the region.

Australia's new two billion dollar programme will provide about 20 steel, all purpose vessels to 12 Pacific countries, replacing boats that are up to 27 years old.

A Forum Fisheries Agency meeting in Tokelau has heard about new technologies and surveillance methods that could be deployed to ensure illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU, fishing is avoided.

Mr Colbeck, who is in Tokelau, says illegal fishing can be policed if individual countries improve their measures at the ports, which might remove the motivation for boats to flout the rules.

"Taking away the market for the IUU fishing vessels really does take away the rationale for them being in the fishery. And so I think it's a matter of combining measures. Obviously there's work that we're doing around information gathering. The replacement of the patrol vessels provides capacity as well."

Australian Senator Richard Colbeck.