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Tuna Boats Nabbed Illegally Fishing In Pacific


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A nine-nation operation to curb lucrative illegal fishing in the Pacific Ocean has detained two Taiwanese tuna fishing boats.

The detention of the vessels capped a 10-day, $US15-million surveillance effort, Operation Big Eye.

Big Eye included the use of patrol boats from Palau, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea, the air forces of Australia and New Zealand, US Coast Guard planes and ships, and a French Navy frigate.

The operation covered an estimated 5.2 million square kilometres of the central and western Pacific Ocean.

Patrol boat crews boarded 38 fishing vessels and low-flying planes checked 185 boats.

The Eastern Star was fined $US200,000 and later released after it was found illegally fishing in the Federated States of Micronesia and a second Taiwanese vessel, the Ching Feng, was detained in the capital Pohnpei.

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