New Zealand Sends Frigate To Toothfish Waters

  • Simon Upton
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

"New Zealand's decision to send the frigate Te Kaha into the Ross Sea region underscores its determination to discourage potential 'pirates' from threatening toothfish stocks in the Ross Sea region", Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Upton said today.

"We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that any illegal or unregulated toothfish activities are exposed".

Ministers attending the "Ministerial-on-Ice" in Antarctica last week expressed their grave concern at the threat posed by continuing illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing for toothfish. "This pristine environment is no longer 'out of sight, out of mind', and we will ensure that it remains that way", Mr Upton said.

"No illegal boats have been sighted by the airforce Orions that have been conducting aerial surveillance during the last few weeks. This is a pleasing result. The presence of Te Kaha will reinforce the message to any would-be illegal toothfishers that they are not wanted".

Te Kaha will depart Auckland and patrol the region of Ross Sea and Balleny islands anytime between 1 February and 31 March. A helicopter on board will conduct searches. Te Kaha will carry inspectors designated under the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Scheme of Inspection and they will have the authority to inspect any vessels flying the flags of CCAMLR nations. The inspectors will report on the activities of any vessels not belonging to a CCAMLR signatory nation.