Pacific Poachers Scenario

A small island nation is under pressure from the fishing fleets of a large nation working its waters without recompense. The island nation seeks New Zealand's help to gather evidence.

At present the cost per flight hour to do this is $84,000. The P-3K costs $18,000 just to fill up for one ten hour mission.  However by using a combination of Low Earth Orbit Satellites and the Orion UAVs this can be reduced a lot. The Orion UAV can fly for five days continuously (120 hours) on $3,000 worth of diesel fuel.  The UAV could be moved to a supportive Pacific Island Forum nation so that more time could be spent patrolling and less time flying back and forth from New Zealand.

If an intervention response is required a Pacific OPV with Marines and SH-2G helicopter could be added.  The OPVs have a range of 6,000nm and can easily patrol on behalf of northern nations. The OPV would be guided by the UAV. Any deputised action by a Pacific Island nation would have to involve clear and deliberate transgression of Pacific EEZs starting with multi-lingual warnings, communications with relevant boat owners, governments. The ability to relay real time video from the UAV or OPV or helicopter via NZ satellites should be helpful. There is also potentially scope for direct action against transgressing vessels which refuse to acknowledge communications.  Direct action would cease if the fishers change course to authority port or accept local authority boarding parties. Such action might involve the use of dipping sonar and electronic counter measures on high power to disrupt catches, bright lights and sound directed at workers, even the use of  paint bombs, Skunk to ruin catches, or CS gas to disrupt operations.

The difficulty with northern fishing boats is they are often part of powerful nations e.g US Tunaboat Association, Japanese, Korean and Chinese interests which can all involve national authorities. Some ships are also quite large. A 120m factory trawler might have a 7,500T displacement, and while relatively slow that makes them hard to stop. In these situations the best course of action is a legal remedy in the home jurisdictions of the fleets. This means collecting plenty of video and electronic evidence and following the law to the letter.