SEVEN members of the local media outlets in the country yesterday had the opportunity to experience aerial surveillance work conducted by Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF).
Tuesday’s flight onboard one C-27J Spartan aircraft was part of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) led regional surveillance operation Kurukuru that is currently undergoing two weeks operation out of Solomon Islands until Friday this week.
The 6 hours flight enabled local journalists to have first-hand aerial surveillance experience and it covers mainly waters of Southern to Western Solomons.
During the flight yesterday, they were managed to come across five different vessels where they were captured on camera and their details were sent back to the FFA headquarter for further assessment to their records to determine if they are registered vessels to fish in the country and if their conduct of fishing activities is legal.
The flight went low when passing the indispensable reef south of Renbell to see if any illegal fishing activity is carried out on the reefs.
At arrival, the media personnel also had the opportunity to speak and ask questions to RAAF Aircraft Captain Andrew Willersdorf and with an FFA Surveillance staff.
Captain Willersdorf said fisheries surveillance is vitally important to monitor fishing activity across the Solomon Islands and the wider Pacific, to detect and deter Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing that has a significant economic impact across the region.
FFA communication unit stated due to limited space available only a few have the privilege to get onboard the flight.
By IAN M.KAUKUI