Call for Improving Transparency in Regional Fisheries Management

Source: EJF
Source: EJF

Published Jun 4, 2019 6:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday, June 5, on the International Day Against IUU fishing, five organizations launched a report outlining the minimum transparency and anti-IUU fishing measures deemed vital for Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), the international and transnational bodies who manage fisheries activities for many of the world's most valuable fish stocks, to adopt and implement. These recommendations span from the point of harvest (where identification and tracking of vessels activities are needed), through the landing, transportation and trade of fish products, including traceability systems along the value chain.

It is estimated that up to one in five wild caught fish is fished illegally, the product of an illicit global business worth billions each year, corresponding to at least 15 percent of the world’s catches. As a major global fishing power and the world’s largest trader of fishery and aquaculture products in terms of value in 2016, its active and influential role as a member of 16 RFMOs worldwide, and in light of the significant commitments it has made to improve international ocean governance, the EU is called upon to continue using its unique and critical position to drive policy changes and prompt actions by other markets to fight IUU fishing.

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana, The Nature Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF - the EU IUU Coalition - call on the EU to:

• Continue leading on promoting transparent fisheries governance at a global level;

• Build alliances with the contracting parties and cooperating non contracting parties (CPCs) of RFMOs, in intensifying efforts to effectively implement measures for tackling IUU fishing practices; and

• Establish (when not in place) and enforce RFMO measures that would trigger action against CPCs in cases of non-compliance.

Max Schmid, Deputy Director of EJF says: "The EU is leading the world with its measures to combat IUU fishing and stop illegal product entering the common market. Now is the time to use that same positive influence to help RFMOs eradicate IUU fishing through effectively implemented and enforced measures. A key aspect of this will be promoting transparency in fisheries, which can be achieved using simple, low-cost measures that are within reach of all regions.”

The EU IUU Coalition’s full list of essential measures to increase transparency and tackle IUU fishing in RFMOs:

Identification and tracking of vessel activities: point of harvest

• Public disclosure of vessel registries and fishing authorizations

• Mandate IMO numbers as unique vessel identifiers on all motorized fishing vessels above 12 meters

• Align all RFMOs with leading global standards in Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)

• Develop joint inspection schemes at sea

Landing and transport of fish products

• Implement effective port state measures (PSMs)

• Monitor and report 100 percent of transhipment activities or introduce a complete ban at sea

Traceability along the value chain: the trade of fish products

• Avoidance of total allowable catch overshoot with a Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS)

Deterrent sanctions and IUU vessel lists

• Effectively stop vessels and nationals engaged in IUU fishing

• Automatic recognition and cross-listing of IUU vessels

Transparent procedures

• Strengthen the fundamental decision-making process with a transparent objection procedure

• Strengthen compliance with conservation and management measures

• Open data policies and stakeholder inclusivity

The report is available here.