Launching of a network of compliance officers of the tuna RFMOs

31 March 2017

Vigo, 27-29 March 2017 – Compliance officers from the five tuna Regional Fishery Management Organizations (t-RFMOs) gathered in the premises of the Port Authority in Vigo, Spain, for the inception workshop to launch a compliance tuna network. This network, supported by the FAO Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, aims at fostering the exchange of information, experience and expertise among worldwide professionals on compliance, Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and related issues in tuna fisheries. This tuna network will be hosted under the International Monitoring Control and Surveillance Network (IMCSN), which already provides an information sharing mechanism for compliance and fisheries law enforcement professionals as they monitor the increasingly complex harvesting and marketing of fish around the world. Effective MCS is key in preventing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which threatens the effective conservation and sustainable management of fish stocks and causes significant economic and social losses.

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The Workshop offered an opportunity to define the rules that the network under which the network will operate, and to discuss issues of special interest to compliance officers, such as the management and integration of data coming from RFMO members, the upkeep of adequate records of all vessels authorized to fish, and the implementation of Port State Measures. Participants also learned about other experiences of informal cooperation between States and international organizations to combat IUU fishing, and benefited from a visit to the European Fisheries Control Agency.

Alejandro Anganuzzi, Coordinator of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, stated:
"It is the first time that such a high-level group of experts comes together, and we look forward to seeing this cooperation among tuna RFMOs further develop in the future. We are convinced that through mutual support and information and experience exchange the work of compliance officers will become more effective."

Cephas Ralph, Chair of the International Monitoring Control and Surveillance Network, stated:
"Compliance officers have a decisive role in ensuring the effective implementation of States' commitments to manage fisheries sustainably and in supporting MCS efforts. They have a wealth of knowledge. I think that the establishment of a platform for exchange of information, lessons and experiences by compliance officers and other MCS experts would render extremely positive results."

Report of the workshop is availbale here.

This workshop is part of a broader support strategy by the FAO Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project aiming at strengthening MCS efforts in world tuna fisheries by developing tools to assist in the combat against IUU fishing. The Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), harnesses the efforts of a large and diverse array of partners, including the five tuna RFMOs.

The International Monitoring Control and Surveillance Network's overarching goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries-related MCS activities through enhanced cooperation, coordination, information collection and exchange among national organizations and institutions responsible for fisheries-related monitoring, control and surveillance.

The five tuna RFMOs are: the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT); the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC); the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT); the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Also present at the Workshop were, among others, compliance officers of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), and representatives of the FAO, the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), FISH-i Africa, and IHS Maritime.

For further information, please contact:

International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network for Fisheries-related Activities
Common Oceans The Gef Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations