KIWI SURVEILLANCE PLANE KEEPS TABS ON TONGA WATERS

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Monthly flights monitor illegal fishing

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov.. 7, 2008) – A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion aircraft with 17 crew members arrived at Fua'amotu International Airport on November 5 for a three-day visit on its monthly surveillance mission of Tongan waters.

Flight Commander Michael Williams said that the RNZ Air Force carried out regular surveillance, security and the patrolling of South Pacific Islands' waters against illegal fishing as part of their service to the region. They have rescued lost Tongan fishermen, found yachts that have washed up on reefs, and in January they found a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Chu Huai 638, fishing illegally in Tonga's waters.

Viliami Mo'ale and Flight Cmdr. Michael Williams

The New Zealand high Commissioner to Tonga, HE Christine Bogle said in a statement today that, "New Zealand has been assisting Tonga in taking forward a prosecution against that vessel."

New Zealand is responsible for patrolling six million square miles of ocean, including most of the South Pacific waters, against illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Tongan government through the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is pressuring the Taiwanese government to pay compensation for the illegal fishing of the Chu Huai 638.

It has been estimated that over US$400 million worth of fish is taken illegally out of the Pacific Islands' waters annually.

Flight Cmdr. Williams said that the RNZAF carry out surveillance flights over Tongan waters on a monthly basis.

It is understood that surveillance over South Pacific Islands' waters is carried out also by the Australian and the French.

Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion aircraft with 17 crew members arrived at Fua'amotu International Airport on November 5 for a three-day visit on its monthly surveillance mission of Tongan waters.

Flight Commander Michael Williams said that the RNZ Air Force carried out regular surveillance, security and the patrolling of South Pacific Islands' waters against illegal fishing as part of their service to the region. They have rescued lost Tongan fishermen, found yachts that have washed up on reefs, and in January they found a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Chu Huai 638, fishing illegally in Tonga's waters.

The New Zealand high Commissioner to Tonga, HE Christine Bogle said in a statement today that, "New Zealand has been assisting Tonga in taking forward a prosecution against that vessel."

New Zealand is responsible for patrolling six million square miles of ocean, including most of the South Pacific waters, against illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Tongan government through the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is pressuring the Taiwanese government to pay compensation for the illegal fishing of the Chu Huai 638.

It has been estimated that over $US400 million worth of fish is taken illegally out of the Pacific Islands' waters annually.

Flight Cmdr. Williams said that the RNZAF carry out surveillance flights over Tongan waters on a monthly basis.

It is understood that surveillance over South Pacific Islands' waters is carried out also by the Australian and the French.

 

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