Commonly, a suspect vessel cannot be inspected and searched in international waters unless it is stateless or the people onboard has permits of the vessel's flag state.
Yet, the 43 nations of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) have already authorised units from 13 enforcer nations to board and inspect any WCPFC to check whether the boarding members comply with the fisheries rules.
In the possibility of violation of the rules, the vessels are recorded and reported to the Commission, which consequently notifies the suspect vessel's flag state.
Additionally, CG Cutter Mellon left Seattle in the end of December and stopped in Hawaii for fuel supplies, cooperating with two Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans Officers, two U.S. Navy Aerographer’s Mates and one U.S. Marine Corps Mandarin translator to assist the fisheries enforcement mission.
Capt. Stephen Burdian, the Mellon's CO reported that
Participating in the WCPFC ties into a broader strategy the Coast Guard is pursuing in the Indo-Pacific region.
Since Coast Guard's arrival in the WCPFC area, the crew has guarded more than 1.110 square miles, has conducted 7 reconnaissance flights, and boarded 2 vessels, including 1 fishing vessel and 1 bunkering.
Both of the latter boardings found out potential violations of conservation management measures, which include high seas transshipment and specifications for the marking and identification of fishing vessels.
Concluding, Capt. Burdian noted that the US Coast Guard supports relationships respecting sovereignty, boosts fair and reciprocal trade and the rule of law in an open and free Oceania.