Royal Australian Navy hydrographic ship HMAS Melville berthing alongside Pohnpei, Micronesia.
5 April 2022

An Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Fisheries Officer was embarked Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessel HMAS Melville onboard as a Sea Rider, providing subject matter expertise of Pacific fisheries and regional legal frameworks for Operation SOLANIA (Op Rai Balang 22). 

Operation SOLANIA supports  maritime surveillance and patrol operations  coordinated by the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). These partner Operations aim to detect and deter illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activity. 

HMAS Melville patrolled around 195,000 square kilometres of the Federated States of Micronesia’s (FSM) Exclusive Economic Zone, significantly contributing to the Operation and providing  supplementary maritime surveillance support to FSM. 

AFMA’s Sea Rider Senior Fisheries Officer Damian White, was on board for the 16-day operation, focussing on providing context to Op Rai Balang 22, the FFA and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). He also presented FSM with two  Freezer Inspection kits sourced by FFA with joint funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). 

Operation SOLANIA is the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to maritime surveillance within the Pacific Region. Operation SOLANIA contributes to a wider multi-national program to provide maritime surveillance support in the Pacific, coordinated by the Quadrilateral Defence Coordinating Group. More information on ADF’s Operations can be found on their website: https://www.defence.gov.au/operations/solania  

AFMA participates in multiple operations each year  to ensure that the Pacific's commercial fisheries are monitored and assisting the Pacific nations maintain viable stocks.

More information on how AFMA manages IUU fishing can be found at www.afma.gov.au