NEW ZEALAND :The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have just conducted maritime patrols in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Samoa and Tokelau as part of a programme to support Pacific neighbouring countries.
As part of the operations and with the participation of enforcement personnel from both island territories, 10 vessels were inspected without detecting any serious offending under their fisheries legislation.
“We recognise that fishery resources are important to the economy and food security of Pacific Island countries,” pointed out the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.
“To support our Pacific neighbours we regularly deploy our ships and aircraft to assist them in fisheries monitoring and surveillance activities,” General Gall stressed.
For his part, MPI spokesman, who has been pleased to have supported local government objectives for both fisheries and maritime domain awareness, said that vigilance through regular compliance patrols is necessary to ensure sustainable use of fishery resources.
The Commanding Officer of offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Otago, said the patrols were in support of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, which strengthened national capacity and facilitated regional cooperation so its 17 member-countries could manage, control and develop their tuna fisheries, an industry worth more than USD 3 billion a year.
The patrols followed successful maritime surveillance operations in Fiji.