Royline Charlie

Fisheries Officers always join patrols done by the RVS Tukoro as the ship patrols Vanuatu’s territorial waters.

This gives them an opportunity to monitor fishing vessels fishing in Vanuatu’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

However this time things were different during the recent Operation Rai Balang as this was the first time a female Fisheries officer took part in the operation.

Royline Charlie who works as a data entry clerk, was really excited when she got the call up and she is proud to be the first female officer to part take in this operation. She says this was a dream come true for her.

The ocean is unpredictable and the lady of mixed Malekula and Tongoa parentage, says she was a bit worried about the weather, however it was all smooth sailing for her. This is also a male dominated industry, however she said she did not find any difficulties and the men cooperated with her very well during the patrol.

The mother of two says her biggest challenge out at sea though was missing her family.

During these operations, officers are meant to board fishing vessels to make sure they comply with Vanuatu laws, however with COVID-19, boarding is not possible and only radio communication takes place.

Apart from monitoring foreign fishing vessels, Charlie also monitored local fishing activities throughout the islands. She came across people killing turtles, which is illegal and she also came across people harvesting coconut crabs outside the hunting season.

The former Vila City College student says, Fisheries issued them fines for breaking the law.

Another thing she is proud of is the fact that she was part of the last patrol which RVS Tukoro did as the ship is soon to be retired and replaced by another patrol vessel by the end of the year.

She encourages all girls out there to have no fear and just go for it. She says girls must not think that just because an area is male-dominated, they can’t do it.

When the 30-year-old is not out at sea, she is in the office receiving data from ship agents on how much fishes they are catching.

Acting Compliance Manager of the Department of Fisheries, Felix Toa, says this is a milestone for the Department.

Toa encourages more girls to walk in Royline Charlie’s footsteps as he believes the new patrol boat will be able to accommodate more than 1 female officer.