Sailors aboard Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) conducted a fisheries patrol exercise with the U.S. Coast Guard and Ecuadorian naval assets in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 22.

The ship, along with embarked personnel of the U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) from the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team and a P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, coordinated with Ecuadorian navy assets to conduct a counter illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing exercise.

The purpose of the exercise is to build proficiencies in detecting and deterring IUU fishing in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility and to support internationally recognized fisheries laws and the suppression of illicit activities.

"Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a top international priority," said Cmdr. Jamie Hopkins, the commanding officer of USS Wayne E Meyer. "It's a worldwide problem estimated to cost the global fishing industry billions of dollars a year."

The range and versatility of U.S. Navy assets allow the embarked U.S. Coast LEDET and partner nations to quickly identify and respond to illicit maritime activities.

“I am grateful each time that we get to work with the U.S. Navy and regional partners,” said Lt.j.g. Mike Brooks, the officer in charge of the U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment. “It is a mission with deep purpose and relevance. It allows us to build capacity and interoperability so we can assist our partners with enforcing fisheries laws and protect their economy in the South Pacific. A large number of states depend on fisheries for food security and export income, and we help to preserve both.”

The guided-missile destroyer is operated by more than 300 crew members and is based out of San Diego.

USS Wayne E. Meyer is part of Littoral Combat Group One, which is deployed in support of the Enduring Promise Initiative to reaffirm U.S. Southern Command’s longstanding commitment to the nations of the Western Hemisphere.

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