Media Release: FFA leads one of largest maritime surveillance operations to end illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing

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HONIARA, 25 October 2019 – The Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) lead Operation Kurukuru is one of the largest maritime surveillance operations globally covering an area the land size of Russia, India and Egypt combined.

The multi-million-dollar operation targeting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing was conducted from 7–18 October 2019 and covered 21.3 million square kilometres. It is coordinated from the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) at the FFA Secretariat in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, said: “Operation Kurukuru is the largest of the four major operations coordinated and supported by the FFA each year.  These operations empower members to take collective and national action against IUU fishing and the success of these operations is due to the commitment and partnerships with our members along with the assets provided by Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States.”

“The operation consumes considerable resources, but we continue to undertake them to ensure our members have the highest levels of social and economic benefits through the protection and sustainable use of our offshore fisheries resources,” she added.

The 12-day operation saw around 132 sea days of active patrolling and 540 flight hours of maritime air surveillance. There were 131 boardings at sea and dockside, with only four infringements found.

The FFA Surveillance and Operations Officer, Commander Robert Lewis, who is seconded from the Royal Australian Navy, said: “The fact there were no unknown fishing vessels found with such thorough air surveillance coverage and only 4 infringements imposed with such a high level of boarding is evidence that current regulations and law enforcement practices are working well with the four FFA operations leading the effort.” 

Ordinary Seaman Sereima Naiqovu from the Fijia Navy was not only the first female Fijian naval person to attend Operation Kurukuru but also one of the first women to join the Fiji Navy.

In her capacity as watch keeper during the operation, she said: “The operation was a great experience for me, mostly as I got to experience and learn a lot of new things from the RFSC. I was overwhelmed to be given the opportunity to be the first female in the Fiji Navy to go for an operation, and I look forward to experiencing and learning more new things.”

Operation Kurukuru aims to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential IUU fishing activity, but also looks to build capacity of watch keepers, intelligence analysts and supervisory staff seconded to the RFSC during the operation, to conduct their own operations upon their return home.

The operation involves 15 FFA members – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. It also involves the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group: Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States of America.

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For more information contact Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, ph: +677 21124

 donna.hoerder@ffa.int

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int

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Japan remains a key partner in Pacific Tuna Fisheries

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Tuna continues to be a delicacy in Japan.

Japan is known for its love affair with seafood. If we say tuna, we think of sushi and sashimi – two of the most famous dishes in Japanese cuisine.

Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials told visiting Pacific Islands journalists in Tokyo last month that a sizeable amount of tuna Japan consumes are sourced from the Japanese vessels licensed to fish in the Pacific region.

Japan is a major fisher of tuna species in the Pacific region; Japan officials said: “fishing is very important to Japan.”

To protect valuable marine resources and to ensure the sustainability of fish stocks, Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific Strategy includes a commitment to peace and stability, including assistance to the Pacific in enhancing maritime safety and stability.

This year, Palau and Japan are celebrating 25-years of diplomatic ties that “friendship” Japan’s aid has delivered a wide range of projects from infrastructure, health, education, maritime security, and climate change.

According to the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) data, the Japanese imports from FFA members was valued at US $41 million in 2016, with Palau and Fiji as the main supplier of tuna sashimi grade products to the Japanese market.

Japan has been an important diplomatic partner to Palau in improving awareness of activities in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Boosting its marine surveillance, a Japan-funded patrol boat called PSS Kedam in now serving as the additional patrol boat for Palau.

The new patrol boat Kedam is funded with the grant by the Nippon Foundation at a cost of over $30 million, Kedam is expected to enhance Palau’s marine surveillance capabilities and police its s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

At the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), Japan is one of the key players pushing for measures to conserve fish stocks, recognizing its economic importance to Pacific island nations.

Japan was also instrumental in keeping catches of juvenile tuna to below 2002–04 average levels as a conservation measure.

The government of Japan continues to assure island nations of support given that the Pacific islands states are large ocean states that are custodians of the world’s largest tuna fishery.

The WCPO share of the global catch of albacore, bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin tunas is between 55% and 58%. In 2016 the total catch of tuna species s was 2.7 million tonnes which 56% of global production of 4.8 million tonnes, according to FFA.

PRESS RELEASE: ‘Australian Chief of Defense Force visit to FFA, a reminder of the power of cooperation,’ FFA DG

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HONIARA, 25 January 2019 — The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency yesterday welcomed the highest ranking military official from Australia, General Angus Campbell.

“The visit by Australian Chief of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell and his team is a reminder of the power of cooperation and is the platform upon which we enjoy excellent relations between FFA and Australia,” said FFA Director General, Dr. Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen.

“It is our Pacific way and it is the only way that we can achieve a safe, stable and prosperous region.”

The visit provided an opportunity for DG Dr. Tupou-Roosen to update the team on the work of FFA, highlight the successful areas of collaboration with Australia, and discuss further areas for close work.

General Campbell underlined the importance of FFA to the regional architecture and the future of the Pacific. He also emphasised the ‘whole-of-community value’ in the sharing of information and expressed his commitment to promoting this.

Dr Tupou-Roosen sincerely thanked him for the successful partnership between Australia and FFA which includes the funds and assistance to FFA members in areas such as the aerial surveillance, patrol boat programme, the Niue Treaty Multilateral Subsidiary Arrangement (NTSA), Persons of Interest; and secondment of defence personnel at FFA.

General Campbell was accompanied by Australian Federal Police Commissioner- Andrew Colvin, Border Force Commissioner – Michael Outram, DG Australian Security Intelligence Organisation –  Duncan Lewis, Department of Defence Director General Pacific and Timor Leste International Policy Division and Chief of Operations Maritime Border Command – Jake Campbell and DA Wing Commander – Jonathon Durden.

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For more information, please contact Donna Hoerder, donna.hoerder@ffa.int, ph: +679 9265 518

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

FFA was established to help their 17 member countries sustainably manage their fishery resources that fall within their 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA is an advisory body providing expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management through agencies such as the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). www.ffa.int