Coordinated maritime surveillance kicks off in Palau

KORO – Operation Kaukledm, a coordinated maritime surveillance in Palau’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) kicked off recently. The operation involved Palau’s Patrol Boat PSS Kedam, a Japanese Fisheries Agency vessel, US Coast Guard Washington, and a surveillance aircraft chartered by the Australian Defence Cooperation program.

Kaukledm, which means “working together,” is a joint operation involving one aircraft and three ships that spent a week searching the entire Palau EEZ (750,000 square kilometres) for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity.

Last year, as a result of a similar operation, Palau’s patrol boat Remeliik detained two Filipino vessels believed to be involved in fishing activities in Palau waters, in violation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act (PNMS). The detained vessels included one purse seiner with 16 crewmembers and a fish carrier with eight crew.

Instead of filing charges against the fishermen caught on board the seized vessels, the marine law enforcement unloaded the fish and repatriated the fish carrier and its crew, along with the crew of the purse seiner, and other fishermen who have been held since 2016, back to the Philippines.

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