Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) crew from inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have boarded and inspected fishing vessels along the South Island’s east coast this month.

After departing Lyttelton on 4 June with two MPI fishery officers aboard, RNZN personnel from Taupo made seven boardings over three days.
The fishery officers would observe vessels before hailing them to ask questions about their catch. A five-person boarding team would then use Taupo’s seaboat for a visual inspection.

While six vessels were found to be compliant, a seventh vessel was observed fishing overnight where a suspected breach was identified. The vessel was boarded the following day and will be subject to further enquiries.

Inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo crew members and MPI staff have monitored fishing boats of the South Island’s east coast this month
Fisheries Officer Gareth Manson says all vessels inspected will undergo further inspection of their digital catch records.

“Working with HMNZS Taupo has been a smooth and enjoyable experience. We are very appreciative of the team’s flexibility, and for the opportunity to work alongside the Navy to extend our capabilities.”

Taupo’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Samara Mankelow, says the fishery inspection period took place while the ship was in the South Island conducting Officer of the Watch training for the RNZN’s new cohort of junior warfare officers.

“For many of our sailors, it was their first exposure to boarding operations. Operation Kauwae provides a great opportunity for the Navy to work with other government agencies and build connections and experience.

“The boarding team of Taupo look forward to future opportunities to protect New Zealand’s maritime resources.”