Australia and New Zealand recently joined a British Navy patrol mission in the Southern Ocean, conducting inspections of fishing vessels in the area. Officers joined the HMS Protector in Hobart in early December 2015, and concluded in Christchurch on 20 January 2016. Australasian agencies involved in the patrol include:
The cooperative effort forms part of an international commitment to respond to illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean marine environment. Inspections were conducted of vessels that had been flagged to the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources members. No breaches were identified.
It is the first time that a British Navy vessel has visited the East Antarctic since WWII. Kerry Smith, Acting General Manager, Fisheries Operations Branch, AFMA said international cooperation is vital in order to protect the sustainability of global fishing resources.
“Joint patrols like this one send a strong message that, by working together, we ensure our fisheries have a future,” she said.
The crew also had a well deserved tourist stop, using a break in their mission to visit the historic hut of Captain Robert Falcon Scott on Cape Evans. In 1911 Captain Evans launched a doomed mission to the South Pole from the hut, ultimately leading to his death. The visiting sailors were led by a New Zealand Defence Force Liaison Officer, where they witnessed an untouched and sobering scene. The visitors attended a service in memory of those who died journeying to the South Pole, with a British Royal Navy officer stating that "it is humbling to think of what they went through in the name of discovery".
Images courtesy of the Royal Navy, UK.