The Royal Australian Air Force (RAF) is in Tuvalu to help tackle illegal, unregulated and unregistered fishing in Tuvalu waters, in support of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
The RAF in its C-27 aircraft, began maritime surveillance today covering Tuvalu’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and high sea pockets around Tuvalu.
Aircraft Captain FLTLT Daniel Braid said this is a three-week operation that includes the maritime surveillance of the waters of Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
Captain Braid said, “Our mission is to search the seas for boats who may be fishing in Tuvalu waters, and send them to FFA headquarters in Honiara for analysis. If they turn out to be boats fishing illegally then FFA will continue with its prosecution process.”
Lieutenant Commander Rodney Wells has been coordinating maritime surveillance on the ground, and said that he and the maritime police have provided education training to school students.
Logistics Officer of the RAF, FLGOFF Jorgia Broadbent said apart from conducting maritime surveillance, RAF crew will also participate in activities with local people starting with a friendly volleyball game between the crew and local police.
She said, “There will be time for school visits where school children will be invited to walk through the plane.”
Other aircrafts from other developed partners are also part of this maritime surveillance, covering the other three countries’ EEZ and high seas.
Aircraft Captain Braid said, “It is important to detect fishing boats fishing in FFA charge, and prosecute them so to deter this illegal, unregulated and unregistered fishing.”