Operation Island Chief FFA-led Air Surveillance Successfully ends
The Operation Island Chief, a Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency-led (FFA) surveillance operation covering 18.4 million square kilometres ends today.
FFA says the Operations have enhanced actions to tackle the illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing activities in the Pacific waters.
It says the operations have evolved from previously protecting against illegal fishing boats entry to now policing the operations of licensed vessels who haven’t followed the rules and regulations governing their activities.
Acknowledging the local knowledge and expertise, FFA Director Fisheries Operations, Allan Rahari says, the 10-day Operation is made possible by the member countries and development partners.
“Island Chief, one of four operations conducted annually, is a massive operation that covers the Pacific waters of 11 participating FFA member nations – Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu,” said Mr Rahari.
The operation involved close to 500 personnel from the navy, police, air force and national fisheries bodies in the Pacific. Papua New Guinea also chartered an aircraft and two vessels to conduct surveillance.
The FFA Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) team, was supported by the Australian Defence Force, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
“Regional collaboration, the sharing of resources and intel, and the ongoing training and strengthening of local expertise is a critical cornerstone of the success of our surveillance operations, ” the FFA statement says.
Pacific QUAD partners, Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States, provided support through aerial and surface surveillance, alongside the FFA Aerial Surveillance Programme aircraft, further enhancing the maritime surveillance coverage during the operation.
Twelve ships, eight aircraft and dark vessel detection technology rounded out the assets included in this complex operation.