The Royal New Zealand Navy’s Inshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Hawea and a Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter recently completed a fisheries patrol around the upper North Island in support of the Ministry for Primary Industries.
9 February 2018
A joint fisheries patrol conducted recently by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) underlines the Government’s commitment to sustainable fishing.
From 3-8 February, three fishery officers from North Harbour, Waikato and Taranaki joined the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Inshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Hawea and a Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter to patrol about 2050 kilometres from Coromandel up to Cape Reinga and down to Taranaki.
“These patrols are a valuable exercise in monitoring compliance levels at sea for longer durations,” MPI Chief Compliance Officer Richard Ratapu said.
“It was great to see the high levels of compliance from this operation. Our joint presence with the NZDF helps to raise compliance levels. This ultimately supports sustainable fisheries management, which is the aim of these patrols,” Mr Ratapu said.
Lieutenant Brock West, Commanding Officer of Hawea, said the combined NZDF and MPI boarding team inspected 15 recreational and commercial vessels during the operation.
A number of alleged offences were detected, and follow-up action will be taken by MPI.
“The key message we deliver through these patrols is that we have rules on inshore fishing and we are serious about enforcing them,” Lieutenant West said.
“The MPI inspections check what they have fished and what quantities are reported, as we seek to monitor the impacts of fishing and ensure we have sustainable fish stocks for the future. The fishery officers also check whether the fishermen are using the right gear.”
The NZDF regularly deploys its aircraft and vessels to support MPI and New Zealand Customs in patrolling New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.