5 Sep 2007

FFA to develop satellite project to target patrols of fishing fleets

3:30 pm on 5 September 2007

The Forum Fisheries Agency is developing a co-ordinated system to better track fishing fleets operating in the Pacific Islands region.

The agency's deputy director, Dr Transform Aqorau, was speaking after a region-wide surveillance operation of more than 220 boats netted a total of 24 vessels to be investigated over suspicious activity.

Three boats have already been apprehended.

Dr Aqorau says they use a number of tools for tracking, including a registry of vessels, a vessel monitoring system, observers on boats and patrols but they want to better target what's happening.

He says the FFA is trying to develop a project which would integrate satellite imagery with the vessel monitoring system.

"You can interface the satellite imagery with the vessel monitoring system and that would tell you, for example, if you're only seeing 10 boats on your VMS but your satellite imagery gives you 15 boats, then that alerts you to the other 5 boats - what are they doing in the region?"

Dr Aqorau says this would allow the FFA to better co-ordinate and target patrols.