A CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft and its Canadian crew from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron returned home to 19 Wing Comox, B.C., on Friday from Hakodate, Japan, where they were stationed to help enforce the United Nations ban on high seas driftnets.
A welcome home event recognized the successful completion of the 2012 Operation High Seas Driftnet mission in the North Pacific, and the close cooperation between Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Government of Japan.
This was the first year that the operation flew from Japan. Having the aircraft and crew staged from Hakodate demonstrates Canada and Japan’s growing partnership and shared commitment to combating the use of driftnets on the high seas.
The daily patrols used the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Aurora aircraft, which is one of the few aircraft in the world uniquely equipped to effectively search such a vast area. The aircraft patrolled high-threat areas and investigated suspicious radar contacts for illegal fishing, while sensor and photographic data were fed back to Canadian Forces personnel to be compiled into a database and plotted on computer displays for analysis.
Click here to watch a video of an intercept (.mov format only).
Details on the vessels identified requiring further investigation were provided to the responsible law enforcement agencies for action.
Canada continues to play a leadership role in supporting sustainable global fisheries, including working to eradicate illegal fishing activity in the Pacific Ocean. Operation High Seas Driftnet is part of a collaborative international initiative of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission to deter illegal fishing activity using ongoing aerial and at-sea patrols, as well as sophisticated satellite imaging technology including Canada’s Radarsat-2.
“Our government is committed to ensuring that fishing industries from coast to coast to coast are sustainable and prosperous,” said Randy Kamp, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Oceans. “Part of maintaining a sustainable and prosperous fishery means monitoring and enforcing international regulations and deterring illegal fishing activity to ensure a level playing field for Canada’s law-abiding fishermen.”
"The Canadian Forces play a key role in monitoring our coasts, protecting our waters and patrolling the high seas," said Defence Minister Peter MacKay. "We continue to work closely with our allies and other Government departments and agencies to do our part in the overall fight against illegal fishing off Canada's Pacific Coast."
As a result of this international collaboration and use of sophisticated technology, members of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (including Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and Canada) have succeeded in significantly reducing the incidence of illegal fishing activity in the high seas of the North Pacific.
Since 2001, these partners have only had to apprehend four vessels for violating the United Nations moratorium, compared to 14 from 1993 to 2000. During the 2012 mission, 318 contacts were observed from the air and investigated, and no illegal, unreported, unregulated high seas driftnet fishing was observed.
Canada’s 2012 patrol was coordinated by Canadian fishery officers from British Columbia stationed in Hakodate, Japan, with support from the United States Coast Guard out of Juneau, Alaska, and in collaboration with specialists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Forces through Canadian Joint Operations Command and its supporting elements.