HONIARA (FFA) — Five women from five different organisations contribute to the 20-strong team working at the FFA Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) to conduct maritime surveillance across eight Pacific countries and their surrounding high seas.

The collaborative efforts of their national and international agencies are resulting in a better understanding of current fishing activity during fisheries surveillance in the Western Pacific region.

The women’s collective professional experience spans fisheries, intelligence and maritime security roles in both Solomon Islands and New Zealand. 

“Sharing knowledge and experience across our different organisations really highlights how we need to work together, to share across our divisions or our silos. We need to be smarter across this vast region,” says Sylvianne Gatu, who joined the FFA six months ago from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

For Mary Kalola, a member of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force for 18 years, it has been a different experience working at the FFA Ops Centre. 

“There are different systems, and a different way of doing things, but there is still the underlying sense of cooperation and working together to understand our environment. We can all learn from one another,” she said.

RSIPF Maritime Police Constable Tricia Wilimae said Operation Rai Balang was a great learning experience for her. “I could see the way the RFSC worked with the different agencies in our country, and how working together we all achieved a better result,”said Wilimae. “I know that I will take back things I have learnt, to share with my colleagues in Maritime Police.”

“Of course COVID has had its challenges, and some of our surveillance has been impacted but we continue to collaborate with all nations to do the best we can,” says FFA staff officer, Agnes Arahauta, who is responsible for coordinating staff members at the RFSC. “It’s always special to open our doors to a wider group of staff, working together to improve our understanding,” she said…. PACNEWS

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