October 23, 2018 – The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) inspected 10 vessels during recent maritime patrols in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Samoa and Tokelau.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the patrols were conducted to support New Zealand’s Pacific neighbors and involved enforcement personnel from Samoa and Tokelau.
“We recognize that fishery resources are important to the economy and food security of Pacific Island countries,” Major General Gall said.
“To support our Pacific neighbors we regularly deploy our ships and aircraft to assist them in fisheries monitoring and surveillance activities.”
MPI spokesman Steve Ham said the patrols did not detect any serious offending under Samoa’s or Tokelau’s fisheries legislation.
“That’s a very good result. MPI has been pleased to have supported local government objectives for both fisheries and maritime domain awareness,” Ham said.
“Vigilance through regular compliance patrols is necessary to ensure sustainable use of fishery resources.”
Lieutenant Commander Lorna Gray, the Commanding Officer of offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Otago, said the patrols were in support of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, which strengthened national capacity and facilitated regional cooperation so its 17 member-countries could manage, control and develop their tuna fisheries, an industry worth more than US$3 billion a year.
The patrols followed successful maritime surveillance operations in Fiji.