U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch (WPC-1119) is scheduled to arrive in Bermuda on March 31 as part of the second annual fisheries enforcement operation in concert with the Bermuda Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Bermuda Coast Guard Unit, and Bermuda Police Services. The cutter will patrol seaward of the Bermuda Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in adjacent international waters.
The joint operation expands upon last year’s fisheries enforcement operation, which encountered multiple foreign flagged fishing vessels operating in the region outside of Bermuda’s EEZ. These collective efforts advance the long-standing U.S.-Bermuda partnership, as well as emphasize the continued need to protect the environment and living marine resources against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, a global issue also prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic.
“I am proud to welcome the U.S. Coast Guard back to Bermuda for this important operation,” said U.S. Consul General to Bermuda Karen Grissette. “The second year of this fisheries enforcement operation strengthens and expands the United States’ strategic partnership with Bermuda and increases our interoperability. This type of collaboration with our strategic partners is critical to confronting transnational challenges.”
“Once again it is an honor for Bermuda to be receiving the U.S. Coast Guard in our waters,” noted Deputy Premier of Bermuda and Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban. “This operation continues cooperation with the U.S. Government in supporting illegal, unreported fishing and other unacceptable activity in our waters. All is as a result of a meeting held with the former National Climate Advisor to U.S. President Biden, Gina McCarthy, at COP26 where we discussed matters important to Bermuda and the United States. The willingness of the United States to support Bermuda in our effort to oversee our EEZ is in step with our centuries’ long relationship as neighbors. My gratitude on behalf of the people of Bermuda extends to the U.S. Government, the U.S. Consul General’s Office and their team in Bermuda for facilitating the support we will continue to get from the United States Coast Guard.”
As the worldwide demand for fish as a protein source continues to grow, IUU fishing will have a profound impact on the security of all countries with a maritime boundary. Left unenforced, IUU fishing will threaten global geo-political security, undermine maritime governance, and impact a nation’s ability to achieve domestic food security.
“The impacts of IUU-F are pervasive and far-reaching as it threatens local, regional and global fish stocks; undermines a nation’s sovereignty as well economic security; and weakens maritime governance designed to protect the sea itself, said Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath, commander of the Coast Guard Fifth District. “We need to eradicate this threat to collective prosperity by spot lighting bad actors and rooting out illicit behavior.”
The sentinel-class fast response cutter is a key component of the Coast Guard’s offshore fleet that is capable of deploying independently to conduct missions that include port, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense.