Coast Guard enforces international fishing regulations in the South Pacific

APIA, Western Samoa – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis arrived Friday in the port of Apia, Western Samoa, as part of a two-month mission to enforce international fishing regulations in the South Pacific.

The crew of the Jarvis is supporting a multinational effort to reduce illegal fishing in the South Pacific, both within individual countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and on the high seas. The Coast Guard cooperates with more than two dozen nations to enforce fisheries laws in the South Pacific; on this patrol, the Jarvis is coordinating directly with law enforcement representatives from French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, the Republic of Kiribati and Australia.

Prior to arrival in Western Samoa, the Jarvis conducted multiple fisheries boardings, both under U.S. authority and in cooperation with an embarked Kiribati ship rider. During these boardings, the crew of the Jarvis identified a range of fisheries and safety violations, ultimately terminating two fishing vessels for operating under especially hazardous conditions. As fines from a single fisheries boarding can reflect more than 1 percent of a Pacific Island nation’s yearly gross domestic product, and with commercial fishing the backbone of Pacific Islanders’ fragile economies, enforcement of national and international fishing laws is critical to their well being. Additionally, enforcing safety regulations preserves fishermen’s lives, reducing the burden of complicated search and rescue operations in remote locations often hundreds of miles from land.

While in Apia, the crew of the Jarvis will host an onboard reception for a panoply of high-ranking Western Samoan military and political officials. The crew is also supporting two community outreach projects in Apia, donating three large pallets of tsunami relief supplies to the Samoan Red Cross in support of the U.S. Navy’s Project Handclasp, and working side-by-side with local residents to help Habitat for Humanity build traditional fala houses for families in need.

Following this port call, the crew will return to sea, continuing to leverage international partnerships to enforce fisheries regulations in the South Pacific Ocean.

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