RESPONSIBLE government ministries have been urged to investigate reports of ‘Blue Boats’ sightings off the Coast of Anuta Island, in Temotu Province recently.
Following the sightings, the natives of Anuta said they were curious about these ‘blue boats’ as they used to stay afloat outside a nearby reef and probably do their illegal acts.
The informant told this paper that people of Anuta are concerned and felt insecure of these illegal fishing boats because they are exploiting their marine resources.
Speaking to the Solomon Star yesterday, city resident Atkin Wale said such report must be seriously investigated.
“Recently, I noted that these so called ‘Blue boats’ are a threat to our marine resources.
“I think it is now a serious thing that they are being sighted in our waters.
“Therefore, I call on the police and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to investigate the reports,” Mr Wale said
He added that such report by now should be under the radar of the ministry and can only be confirmed or ruled out if proper investigation is done.
Solomon Star understands that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is well aware that the controversial ‘Blue boats’ might be poaching in the Solomon seas unnoticed or untraced.
The ‘blue boats’ are small wooden fishing boats that do not have permission to fish in the Pacific’s territorial waters.
Vietnam is the most prolific source of blue boats. Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia have made multiple arrests but even burning the culprit’s boats does not stop them coming back.
According to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Blue boats are hard to see with radar and do not carry transponders so they are difficult to be detected using the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) at their headquarters in Honiara.
With the recent sightings, there is a need for the country to step up its patrol in the Roncador and Indispensable reefs.
Roncador Reef is south of Ontong Java Atoll and the Indispensable Reefs can be found in Rennell, Temotu, Anuta, and the eastern Solomon Seas.
Meanwhile, PNA Chief Executive Officer Ludwig Kumoru in a media dialogue during last year’s Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC13) in Fiji said, if they spot these boats in the PNA waters they will destroy them immediately.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA