13 May 2008

FFA says satellite monitoring a surveillance option

3:46 pm on 13 May 2008

The Forum Fisheries Agency says it's exploring the possibility of satellite monitoring to catch illegal fishing vessels in the Pacific ocean.

Greenpeace has called for a blanket ban on transfer of catch at sea in order to stop illegal fishing in the face of declining tuna stocks.

The FFA's Deputy Director Dr Transform Aqorau says certain operators have to trans ship their catch away from a port, and the best way to police what's going on is to improve surveillance.

"The difficulty is unless you are out there patrolling the area and being out there for nine to twelve months at a time, you're not going to be able to see all the vessels. And so we are trying to develop processes where we get reports from observers, sometimes we get reports from other vessels to check on vessels that they spot. You're not going to be able to eliminate 100 percent of all these pirate boats."

Dr Transform Aqorau says the FFA is working with other regional fishing organisations to develop better systems to protect declining tuna stocks and ensure sustainable fishing practises in the region.