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Australian-funded aerial surveillance closes fisheries ‘gaps’ in Pacific islands by Giff Johnson February 11,2019   |  Source: Marianas Variety

Pacific islands continue closing gaps in monitoring, control and surveillance of commercial tuna fishing in the region — with Australia playing an important role in the expanding surveillance program.

The challenge is simple: Pacific island nations cover millions of square miles of ocean with only a handful of patrol boats to enforce fisheries rules. The result: An ongoing and significant level of illegal fishing that is estimated to cost the islands hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost revenue.

Tevita Tupou, coordinator of the Forum Fisheries Agency’s Regional Aerial Surveillance Program, explained it this way: Marshall Islands waters are three times the size of the American state of Texas. And the Marshall Islands has one patrol boat. That’s one police car to monitor all of Texas.

Now, with Australian funding, aerial surveillance of Pacific waters is expanding to its highest level ever. Friday, in Majuro, Marshall Islands Fisheries Minister Dennis Momotaro and Forum Fisheries Agency Director General Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen signed the first aerial surveillance cooperation agreement — the first of what Tupou-Roosen anticipates will soon be 15 agreements as all island members come on board for use of the new fisheries aerial surveillance program.

 

© 2013 Marianas Variety

Theme(s): Fisheries Development and Aquaculture.

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