15 Jul 2016

NZ Defence Force battling illegal fishers

1:41 pm on 15 July 2016

The New Zealand Defence Force said they were continuing a successful run with their joint fisheries patrols in the waters of Fiji, Niue, Tokelau and Tuvalu.

Captain Dave McEwan.

Captain Dave McEwan. Photo: NZ Defence Force

HMNZS Otago was halfway through a two month mission to help Pacific nations monitor fisheries compliance in their exclusive economic zones.

In 34 boardings of commercial fishing vessels, fisheries officers have detected 36 breaches.

The acting maritime component commander for the NZDF Captain Dave McEwan said the breaches had been minor but the Otago's presence had allowed fisheries officers to monitor and enforce licencing.

"You board these vessels and, you know, the crews are busy, they've been at it for a long time. Sometimes just the paperwork is hard to find or it might be lacking a date or a certain specification," he said.

"You know, this is where we help those Pacific Island nations fisheries officers do their business. We deliver them to the vessel they're boarding and we allow them then to continue their scrutiny of the licencing and the certification."