A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion aircraft is currently conducting three days of aerial surveillance over Solomon Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a task coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
The targeted maritime surveillance patrol was requested by Solomon Islands Government in order to monitor the activities of tuna fleets in its EEZ, as part of FFA’s ongoing surveillance in the region to detect and deter illegal fishing activities. The tasking included surveillance of the Western border as well as the East and South fishing areas. This is the first such operation over Solomon Islands’ waters since March.
FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said “Maritime patrols are a key way of enhancing our knowledge of what’s occurring at sea. It also acts as an invaluable deterrent for illegal activities. We’re so pleased that Solomon Islands was host to the first extended duration aerial surveillance patrol since restrictions on travel have been imposed under COVID.”
“We congratulate the Government of Solomon Islands and the Government of New Zealand for this cooperation and continued commitment to combatting illegal fishing in our region. We also acknowledge and sincerely thank the Government of New Zealand for this significant contribution,” she added.
New Zealand contributes to regional efforts to tackle illegal fishing to ensure fisheries are managed effectively for future generations.
“Fisheries are a vital resource and value asset of Pacific nations, one that must be preserved and protected” the New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Georgina Roberts said. “Surveillance operations like this are ways in which New Zealand can continue to support Pacific nations to preserve this taonga.”
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) cooperates with regional agencies and Pacific neighbours on patrols to detect and deter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activity.