05 September 2014
PNG stops illegal fishing
The Australian High Commissioner to PNG Deborah Stokes has congratulated PNG on a successful operation combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. It was an operation which the Australian Government was pleased to support said Ms Stokes.
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and National Fisheries Authority combined to issue fines to two fishing vessels conducting illegal activities, during a maritime surveillance operation from 13 August to 22 August in Manus Province in the Bismarck Sea.
The activity was part of Operation Island Chief, a regional surveillance activity coordinated by the Forum Fisheries Agency in Honiara.
Two Papua New Guinea Defence Force patrol boats conducted surveillance sweeps through the Bismarck Sea and the northwest reaches of PNG’s Exclusive Economic Zone. PNGDF and NFA personnel apprehended two vessels that did not have proper fishing licenses or were conducting illegal manoeuvres. The operators of these vessels were taken to Manus Province and were charged and fined over K3 million.
“The Australian Government was very pleased to have supported Operation Island Chief through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Defence Force,” said Ms Stokes.
“We note the importance of continued strong interagency collaboration to enhance PNG’s maritime security, and to protect its marine resources. We look forward to continuing our longstanding maritime security cooperation.”
Two officers from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority participated in the patrol. The Royal Australian Air Force also supported Operation Island Chief by providing aerial surveillance for participating countries. The Australian Government supports the operation of the four PNGDF patrol boats through the PNG-Australia Defence Cooperation Program.