HONIARA, 01 JUNE 2017 (RNZI) — The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) has welcomed a move by Australia to provide Pacific countries with bigger, faster patrol boats.

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Two decades ago Australia gifted 20 patrol boats to Pacific countries which continue to be the front line of regional security, monitoring and surveillance of the Pacific tuna fishery and the first response in times of natural disasters.

 

The deputy director general of the FFA, Wez Norris, said the Pacific patrol boat roll out will begin next year and would continue until the entire Pacific patrol boat fleet was replaced.

 

It was part of the Pacific Maritime Security Programme which would see U$S1.5 billion spent in the region over the next three decades.

 

Norris said this generous initiative alongside Australia’s additional commitment to provide the FFA with around the clock aerial support for regional surveillance will greatly strengthen security in the region.

 

“These new patrol boats will be quite a lot more capable both in terms of their size and therefore their ability to go to sea in rough weather.” [/restrict]