Sharing our story: Enforcement experts host foreign journalists

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Long, a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, discusses Mellon’s capabilities and actions taken during a recent fisheries enforcement patrol in the western Pacific Ocean with members of the international media aboard Mellon at Coast Guard Base Seattle, Aug. 24, 2015.  Thirteen reporters from 10 different countries toured Mellon and were presented information about fisheries enforcement and protection of living marine resources.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Long, a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, discusses Mellon’s capabilities and actions taken during a recent fisheries enforcement patrol in the western Pacific Ocean with members of the international media aboard Mellon at Coast Guard Base Seattle, Aug. 24, 2015.
Thirteen reporters from 10 different countries toured Mellon and were presented information about fisheries enforcement and protection of living marine resources.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

U.S. Coast Guard story by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener

Commercial fishing generates billions of dollars for different nations, companies and individual fishermen around the world. Protecting our living marine resources is a critical Coast Guard mission, and one that we cannot accomplish on our own. Spreading that message is also vital for the success of international enforcement programs.

Cmdr. Chris German, executive officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter homeported in Seattle, talks with members of the international media interested in Pacific fisheries enforcement on the cutter’s bridge during an informational tour, Aug. 24, 2015.  Mellon recently returned from a fisheries enforcement patrol in the western Pacific Ocean.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

Cmdr. Chris German, executive officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter homeported in Seattle, talks with members of the international media interested in Pacific fisheries enforcement on the cutter’s bridge during an informational tour, Aug. 24, 2015.
Mellon recently returned from a fisheries enforcement patrol in the western Pacific Ocean.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

“There is tremendous value in publishing information about the Coast Guard’s and our partner agencies effort to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing to the international community,” said Cmdr. Chris German, executive officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter that recently returned from a fisheries enforcement patrol in the northern Pacific Ocean. “It raises visibility of the issue and encourages our international partners to continue protecting the ocean from poachers.”

Thirteen journalists from Pacific countries with economies dependent on sustainable fishing spent 10 days traveling across the United States on a tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department. They were invited to meet with senior-level U.S. officials who explained the policy decisions behind enforcement actions, as well as tactical operators who actually perform the law enforcement boardings on the high seas.

Represented countries included: Australia, China, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Philippines, Samoa, Salomon Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregg Casad, a member of the Coast Guard 13th District enforcement branch, delivers a presentation about Pacific fisheries enforcement to members of the international media at Coast Guard Base Seattle, Aug. 24, 2015.  Casad’s presentation covered oceanic safety, sustainable fishing practices, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregg Casad, a member of the Coast Guard 13th District enforcement branch, delivers a presentation about Pacific fisheries enforcement to members of the international media at Coast Guard Base Seattle, Aug. 24, 2015.
Casad’s presentation covered oceanic safety, sustainable fishing practices, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to build connections and hear about the efforts being made by the United States to protect the oceans,” said Birdie Smith, science editor for The Day, an Australian newspaper based in Sydney. “While I am primarily concerned about what Australia is doing, understanding the actions and policies of other nations certainly allows for a better understanding of the alignment between our two governments.”

At Coast Guard Base Seattle, the journalists were greeted by members of the Coast Guard 13th District enforcement branch and law enforcement officers from Mellon. Explanations of how law enforcement agencies target certain areas and the communications process between the boarding officers at sea, to the nation state of a foreign-flagged fishing vessel, gave some insight into the Coast Guard’s LMR mission.

“It was fascinating to learn about how ships will monitor the weather, ocean currents and temperature to figure where the fish are and how that will lead you to where people may be illegally fishing,” said Smith. “You’re actually using the ocean itself to protect it.”

Crew members assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter homeported in Seattle, explain the capabilities of the cutter’s small boat to members of the international media interested in Pacific fisheries enforcement at Coast Guard Base Seattle, Aug. 24, 2015.  Mellon crew members use the ship’s small boats to enforce fisheries regulations and protect living marine resources.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

Crew members assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter homeported in Seattle, explain the capabilities of the cutter’s small boat to members of the international media interested in Pacific fisheries enforcement at Coast Guard Base Seattle, Aug. 24, 2015.
Mellon crew members use the ship’s small boats to enforce fisheries regulations and protect living marine resources.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener.

Promoting sustainable fisheries in the Pacific Ocean is critical for global infrastructure. Memorandums of understanding with countries like China and Japan, and improved coordination with governments of smaller countries like Indonesia and Samoa create a unified international approach to protect the fragile marine ecosystem.

“Publicizing the efforts and expertise of Mellon’s crew alongside our international partners certainly sends a message,” said German. “It puts poachers and their financiers on notice that there are laws that govern our oceans and we will be there to enforce them.”

From Australia to California and China to the Bering Sea, the message resounds that Coast Guardsmen and our oceanic allies around the world are fighting to protect the fragile marine ecosystem, and combat the exploitation of natural resources vital to the global economy.

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