Operation Kurukuru

2009

Operation Kurukuru 2009, a coordinated maritime surveillance operation in which countries cooperate to detect activities such as illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, smuggling and people trafficking, was hosted by FFA over 10 days.

Operation Kurukuru 2009 resulted in 8 boardings of vessels and 1 apprehension of a vessel which has been escorted to port for further investigation. In Tuvalu, 1 vessel was fined USD $10,000 for misreporting of fishing catch. The 4 aircraft involved in the operation flew a total of 85 hours and covered approximately 800,000 square nautical miles.

Covering an area of approximately 10 million square kilometres - including the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – Operation Kurukuru 2009 involved fisheries surveillance and enforcement staff from all of these countries working together with their counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, France and US over 10 days of surveillance.

Surveillance was conducted by individual countries within their respective EEZ’s using 7 Pacific Class Patrol Boats (from Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu) and 1 French Patrol Boat. This was supported by aerial surveillance provided by 4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (2 P-3 Orions supplied by Australia & New Zealand, a Guardian supplied by France and a Hercules C-130 from the US Coast Guard).

This year Operation Kurukuru was hosted and coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) at its regional headquarters in Honiara, Solomon Islands. All countries had access to an FFA web-based map of surveillance flights, licensed vessels and unlicensed vessels, so individual countries were able to send out patrol boats where aerial surveillance had identified suspicious activities or vessels.

Outcomes include:
•    Tuvalu’s Patrol Boat boarded and fined a foreign fishing vessel for misreporting its catch.
•    Solomon Island’s Patrol Boat boarded and apprehended a foreign fishing vessel for a number of breaches.
•    The aerial surveillance effort identified a number of vessels apparently not complying with their FFA registration and licence conditions and are the subject of further investigation.

However the success of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance effort by the FFA member countries and the United State and France in the region should not necessarily just be measured by the number of fishing vessels apprehended.  The reduction in the number of vessels conducting illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing is a sure sign that the policing and other measures being taken are working.

Operation Kurukuru is an activity to meet the broader objectives of sustainable fisheries development and management in the Pacific region.  This annual operation held in the Eastern and Western FFA Member countries complements other operations held in the rest of the FFA member countries.

2008

Operation Kurukuru 2008, a coordinated maritime surveillance operation in which countries cooperate to detect activities such as illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, smuggling and people trafficking, was hosted by the Solomon Islands in 2008.

500 people were actively involved in Operation Kurukuru 2008 which resulted in locating 300 foreign fishing vessels in the area of operations, 20 of which were considered worthy of further investigation after analysis. 30 days of patrol at sea were provided plus the four aircraft involved in the operation undertook 100 hours of aerial surveillance.

Covering an area of 10.6 million square kilometres - including the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Cook Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – Operation Kurukuru 2008 involved surveillance and law enforcement staff from all of these countries working together with their counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, France and US over 12 days of surveillance.

Surveillance was conducted by individual countries within their respective EEZ’s using 8 Pacific Class Patrol Boats (from Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga (2), Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu), 4 US Coast Guard Cutters and 1 French Frigate. This was supported by aerial surveillance provided by 4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (2 P-3 Orions supplied by Australia & New Zealand, a Guardian supplied by France and a Hercules C-130 from the US Coast Guard). Operation Kurukuru 2008 was coordinated by a team based in the Solomon Islands Police Force Maritime Unit’s newly launched Operations Room, upgraded with funding from the Australian Defence Cooperation Program.

The Operations Room relies on access to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) E-Operations system which collects, displays and analyses aircraft and vessel movements over the entire operations area in an interactive display. By collating information from regional and national licence and suspected illegal fishing lists, the E-Operations system can identify and monitor suspicious vessels. Regional surveillance staff, trained by FFA in how to use the E-Operations system, then can prioritise their operations efforts, contact national staff and make decisions on where to allocate surveillance aircraft and patrol boats.

Operation Kurukuru 2008 also involved participation by United States Navy as an observer in the regional headquarters with a view to providing aircraft participation next year for the first time, signing of an enduring VMS data sharing agreement by Samoa with all other FFA members and a visit by Australian Defence Minister Hon Joel Fitzgibbon on 10 Sep to view the operation in progress. Operation Kurukuru is an activity to meet the broader objectives of sustainable development and regional security of The Pacific Plan.

Read staff stories of participation in Operation Kurukuru

Download photos of participation in Operation Kurukuru