US Coast Guard buoy offerings join Pacific IUU fishing patrols

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Juniper in progress (USCG)

Posted on Oct 11, 2021 5:09 PM by

The maritime executive

The US Coast Guard is deploying more resources in the Western Pacific, giving America a new “white-hull” presence in disputed waters. This effort also includes the service’s “black hulls”: the Coast Guard’s rugged buoyed tenders travel far from home on new fishing and sovereignty patrol missions.

Friday, the crew of the coast guard buoy dinghy Juniper returned to Honolulu after a 45-day patrol in Samoa, where they supported a patrol and partnership mission dubbed Operation ‘Aiga. During the 10,000 nautical mile patrol, the cutter crew conducted operations to combat IUU fishing “while promoting the collective maritime sovereignty and resource security of the Indo-Pacific partner countries.” (“Aiga” is the Samoan word for “family.”)

“During our deployment in Oceania, Juniper has led fisheries law enforcement to counter and deter illegal fishing activities in the central Pacific, ”said Cmdr. Chris Jasnoch, the commander of the Juniper. “We were able to establish a presence on the high seas and in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in American Samoa while also patrolling the EEZs of our partner country. ”

The Juniper The crew worked for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), an intergovernmental agency that works to protect the region’s fish stocks on the high seas. 18 of the WCPFC members have executive authority (including including the United States).

During the patrol, the Juniper embarked a Mandarin linguist from the US Marine Corps. With this assistance, the crew interacted with 11 foreign fishing vessels and boarded four of them, gathering information on IUU fishing activities in the region.

The crew also conducted joint operations with a French Navy Falcon-200 aircraft to identify and intercept ships on the high seas – an important symbolic step, given recent diplomatic tensions between the United States and France over the Indo-Pacific politics. The crew also carried out a refueling evolution with the coast guard Olivier Berry, another participant in Operation ‘Aiga.

The Juniper The crew also carried out their daily mission, maintaining navigation aids in the port of Pago Pago and neighboring islands. In addition to normal buoy maintenance, the Juniper produced the first report on the Waterway Analysis and Management System for Pago Pago since 2003. This report uses feedback from regular users of the port to review existing aids and assess where new aids would be useful.

Juniper The team also set up a donation box for the children of Pago Pago, including sports equipment, books and toys for the Boys and Girls Club of American Samoa. “Despite the COVID restrictions preventing an in-person event, it was good to know we made a difference,” said Ensign Elaine Weaver, the Juniper community relations officer.


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