The U.S. Coast Guard vessel Mellon and Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora patrol seas off the coast of Fiji. (Photo submitted Leri Davies)

Prince Rupert DFO officer patrols Fijian coast

Patricia DeMille was one of three B.C.-based officers helping to prevent illegal fishing

On Jan. 14, Prince Rupert-based Department of Fisheries and Oceans detachment supervisor Patricia DeMille was deployed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Mellon in Honolulu and a Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft in Nadi, Fiji.

The two-week long patrol took place in the Pacific Ocean around the coast of Fiji and the island nations of Kiribati, Tokely, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.

READ MORE: Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

The purpose of the patrols was to aid local fisheries organizations in detection and investigation of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. DeMille was one of three B.C.-based fishery officers who were involved.

“It’s my only real chance to get in the field doing something that contributes to a really important protection that the globe needs now… so it’s rewarding to be able to contribute to that,” said DeMille.

IUU fishing has a global impact, costing billi

ons of dollars and negatively affects the ability of legitimate fishermen around the world to earn a living.

Combating global IUU was identified as a priority at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June 2018.

“The U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans have a long history of working together to ensure the viability of fish stocks off North America,” said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, Chief of Response for Coast Guard 14th District, United States Coast Guard. “Working with experts from Canada and regional leaders like Fiji is vital to ensuring food security and the rule of law in Oceania.”

READ MORE: Anglers furious over VIP fishing trip

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