US Coast Guard conducts fisheries patrols in South Pacific

Image: USCG District 14 Hawaii Pacific
Image: USCG District 14 Hawaii Pacific

A US Coast Guard (USCG) cutter has been patrolling in the South Pacific to help counter illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing in the region.

The Hamilton-class high-endurance cutter USCGC Mellon has been conducting enforcement patrols in support of the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), an international body made up of 43 nations and international organisations.

WCPFC members agree to allow the 13 enforcer nations in the pact to board and record any potential violations on their nationally flagged vessels. The findings will then go to the WCPFC which will notify the vessel’s flag of state of the suspected infraction for further investigation.

During patrols of the more than 2,874 square kilometres within the WCPFC convention area, Mellon’s law enforcement team boarded two vessels that were suspected of potential violations of conservation management measures.

No other details of the boardings have been provided besides the fact that the boarded vessels have been identified as one fishing boat and one bunkering vessel.

Mellon has been at sea supporting the WCPFC since late December 2018. For the duration of the counter-IUU patrols, the vessel’s complement also includes two officers of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, two US Navy technicians, and a US Marine Corps Mandarin translator.

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