Operation RAI BALANG, against illegal Pacific commercial fishing, involved a multi-national force
The Australian Defence Force mission against illegal fishing in the Pacific is progressing well after the successful completion of multi-national Operation RAI BALANG.
Operation RAI BALANG is the first of four annual regional monitoring, control and surveillance missions involving Pacific Island nations. The operation counters illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities in the area.
Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Ash Power said an Australian AP-3C Orion provided surveillance of 60 per cent of Palau’s exclusive economic zones in an eight hour sortie.
“This intelligence, once analysed by the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre, allowed Palau’s Pacific class patrol boat PSS Remeliik to assess suspicious vessels in their exclusive economic zones,” Lieutenant General Power said.
“Of the 73 fishing vessels identified during the operation, the AP-3C reported 27 inside Palau’s exclusive economic zone providing PSS Remeliik with many targets to board and investigate.”
The Australian Defence Force also provided operations and surveillance staff, and supported Pacific class Patrol Boats, which Australia gifted to some Pacific countries.
“These Pacific class Patrol Boats enable our partner nations to protect their exclusive economic zones,” Lieutenant General Power said.
He said Operation RAI BALANG was one of the regional monitoring, control and surveillance missions, involving Pacific Island nations – also supported by France, New Zealand and the United States. Such operations are conducted in the exclusive economic zones of 15 Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency members in the western and central Pacific Ocean.