26 September 2023

Defence fishery mission a good catch

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has finished its latest mission to help regional partners detect illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Southwest Pacific.

Chief of Joint Operations in the ADF, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said Australia’s continued presence in the Southwest Pacific and contribution to the prevention of IUU fishing highlighted Australia’s support for the region during an uncertain period.

“A Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft provided aerial surveillance as part of the ongoing Australian Operation SOLANIA, in support of the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency’s (FFA) coordinated regional maritime surveillance and patrol operations,” LTGEN Bilton said.

“Operation SOLANIA assists Pacific Island nations with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to support detection of maritime threats that could lead to law enforcement action and criminal prosecution,” he said.

LTGEN Bilton said Australia would continue to work alongside Southwest Pacific partners to ensure their maritime-based economies were protected from exploitation by IUU fishing.

“The ADF remains committed to supporting the needs of Pacific Island nations,” he said.

“COVID-19 has placed greater pressure on the economies of our regional neighbours and it is up to all of us in the region to prevent the theft of oceanic resources.”

LTGEN Bilton said ADF had the capability and capacity to assist the county’s neighbours in supporting their economic prosperity and the security and stability of the region.

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