Cooperative Southern Ocean patrol concludes
Australian officers recently joined British and New Zealand counterparts on-board the United Kingdom Royal Navy Ice Patrol Vessel HMS Protector, which concluded its patrol of the Southern Ocean on 20 January 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Rear Admiral Peter Laver, Commander Maritime Border Command said that the Australian Border Force was committed to working with regional and international partners to respond to illegal fishing and conserve the Southern Ocean marine environment.
“Australia welcomed the patrol by the HMS Protector and the opportunity to work with officers from the United Kingdom and New Zealand to protect the valuable fisheries resources in the Southern Ocean,” Rear Admiral Laver said.
“This patrol further cemented Australia’s already close relationship with the United Kingdom and New Zealand in taking action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
“Such cooperative arrangements enable enforcement officers to share intelligence and information on tactics and methods used by IUU fishing operators to evade authorities, ensuring that solutions are broad ranging and all encompassing.”
Officers from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), the Australian Border Force (ABF), the Royal Australian Navy, the New Zealand Defence Force and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries joined the vessel in Hobart before it travelled south to undertake surveillance and enforcement activities in the pristine East Antarctic and Ross Sea waters.
During the patrol, the HMS Protector conducted inspections of vessels flagged to the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) members. No breaches of CCAMLR requirements were identified during the inspections.
Kerry Smith, Acting General Manager, Fisheries Operations Branch, AFMA said international cooperation is vital in order to protect the sustainability of global fishing resources.
“Joint patrols like this one send a strong message that, by working together, we ensure our fisheries have a future,” Ms Smith said.
“As a result of effective international cooperation and information sharing in recent years, there has been a significant reduction in IUU fishing operations in the Southern Ocean.
“It is important that international efforts are maintained to ensure the Southern Ocean environment is fished responsibly so that its resources remain sustainable for generations to come.”
This patrol follows on from the successful efforts of ABF, AFMA and international counterparts in 2015 targeting IUU fishing, including the boarding of vessels Kunlun, Perlon and Viking.
More information on how the Australian Government is combatting IUU fishing can be found at afma.gov.au
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