Patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington departs on Sunday for the Southern Ocean from Dunedin to monitor the annual fishing season in the Ross Sea region in an attempt to stamp out illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the area.
The announcement was made by Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, who pointed out that New Zealand is working closely with international partners to combat IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean.
“We have been conducting maritime surveillance in the Southern Ocean using ships since the late 1990s, and offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington is fully prepared for work in these extremely challenging waters,” Minister Brownlee stated.
Monitoring New Zealand and foreign owned fishing boats in the Ross Sea area is a multi-agency activity led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Primary Industries.
”We take conservation in the Southern Ocean very seriously, and this will be even more important when the Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area comes into force in December next year,” McCully stated.
The Foreign Minister explained that New Zealand played a leading role in bringing the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area into force and that their work to patrol the Southern Ocean demonstrates their commitment to protecting this pristine natural environment and ensuring those who try to exploit it are brought justice.
HMNZS Wellington’s patrols will be complemented by a RNZAF P3-K2 Orion surveillance flight and inspectors from the Ministry for Primary Industries will be on board the ship to conduct compliance checks on the Southern Ocean’s legal fishing fleet. (FIS)