Illegal fishing boats caught in Pacific net
Authorities say a two-week operation involving five nations to combat illegal fishing in the central Pacific has netted fishing boats from Japan, China and the Philippines.
Lieutenant Commander Ben Hemphill, of the Royal Australian Navy, says ‘Operation Big Eye’ is “one of largest and complex maritime surveillance operations to be held within the Pacific region”.
Lt Comm Hemphill is an adviser to the Marshall Islands Sea Patrol based in Majuro.
Australian-funded patrol boats from the three Micronesian nations of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands completed their fourth major joint surveillance operation over a two-week period ending earlier this week.
A total of five vessels from Japan, China and the Philippines were apprehended allegedly violating various regulations within the 360 kilometre exclusive economic zones of the three Micronesian nations.
The surveillance operation also involved the Navy and Coast Guard of the United States, and air forces of Australia and New Zealand to provide aerial monitoring of fishing vessels.
The Forum Fisheries Agency in the Solomon Islands also provided support
ABC Online – Australia