Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are assisting the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) to protect fisheries and other resources within the economic exclusive zones of partner countries.
The Australian contribution focuses on Nauru, Kiribati and the Republic of the Marshall Islands and includes King Air B-300 and C-27J Spartan aircraft providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to detection and deterrence operations.
Minister for Defence and senator Linda Reynolds said Australia was proud to support the FFA to advance economic development.
“Australia recognises the importance of the multinational policing and surveillance program to protect fisheries within the sovereign territories of our Pacific partners,” Minister Reynolds said.
“We are supporting regional efforts to combat illegal activity, which undermines ocean-based industries and the economic livelihoods of our neighbours.”
Under the banner of Operation Solania, the ADF supports the FFA-led operations: Kuru Kuru, Island Chief, Tui Moana and Rai Balang.
“Through these operations, the ADF is helping to improve maritime domain awareness so that participating nations can protect their natural resources.”
Operation Solania is being conducted from 12 to 23 August 2019. Operation Solania is the ADF’s contribution to maritime surveillance within the Pacific Region.
Operation Solania also supports Operations Kuru Kuru, Big Eye, Island Chief, Tui Moana and Rai Balang, which are coordinated maritime surveillance and patrol operations run by the FFA to detect and deter illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activity.
ADF assets assigned to Operation Solania provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support to the Pacific Islands countries. ISR capability provided by the ADF on Operation Solania supports the economic development of Pacific Island countries through the protection of fisheries and other resources.
Operation Solania supports the policing of the economic exclusive zones of Pacific Island countries, including operations under the Niue Treaty, which was established in July 1992 to enable cooperation in fisheries surveillance and law enforcement amongst FFA member nations.
Operation Solania contributes to a wider multinational program to provide maritime surveillance support in the Pacific, coordinated by the Quadrilateral Defence Coordinating Group.
Members of the Quadrilateral Defence Coordinating Group are Australia, New Zealand, France and the US.