HMNZS OTAGO monitoring fishing in Southern Ocean

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HMNZS OTAGO departed Dunedin yesterday to monitor fishing activities in the Southern Ocean. New Zealand-designated Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) inspectors from the Ministry for Primary Industries will be on board to conduct compliance checks on the Southern Ocean’s legal fishing fleet.

“New Zealand takes its commitment to Southern Ocean conservation seriously. It is vital that, as a CCAMLR member, we play our part in tackling illegal fishing activities,” Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says.

Having conducted patrols in the Southern Ocean for the last three seasons, HMNZS OTAGO has sound operational experience of the extremely challenging weather conditions.

“HMNZS OTAGO deployment is a good example of the way New Zealand Defence Force assets support New Zealand’s interests. The ship’s surface patrols will be complemented by RNZAF P3-K2 Orion surveillance,” Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

The licenced CCAMLR fishing season in New Zealand’s area of responsibility starts 1 December 2013 and continues until the agreed limits are reached (usually in January or early February).

“New Zealand’s Southern Ocean fisheries surveillance supports the sustainable management of the Ross Sea region through the monitoring of fishing vessel compliance with CCAMLR’s rules,” Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.