Message from Cephas Ralph, Newly Elected Chair of the IMCS Network

Dear MCS colleagues,

I want to give you a brief and immediate update on some of the most exciting highlights from our business meeting in Valparaiso Chile on 27th–29th March 2012 which was attended by 32 participants from 11 member countries, 2 RFMOs and the EU. A fuller record of the meeting will follow soon but I think it’s important to make you all aware as quickly as possible of the important “milestones” which were reached at the meeting.

As well as electing myself and Michele Kuruc as Chair and Vice Chair respectively we selected a new Executive Committee and saw a demonstration of the Network’s new website. We had the first preliminary discussions on the next Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop to be held in Central America in 2013 and Michele told us about a proposal to have a global competition designed to reward initiatives with potential to have a significant impact in the fight against IUU fishing. On the main business of the meeting the delegates carefully scrutinised, amended and then approved three documents vital for the future of the Network.

  • The Governing Framework
  • The Strategic Plan and
  • The Workplan

Finalised versions of these documents are attached to this email along with a copy of the latest financial report. For the first time the Network has a formal Governing Framework to guide its actions and ensure that its business procedures are conducted in a thoroughly transparent manner. The Strategic Plan is also “a first” laying out at under 3 headline strategic objectives what the Network is seeking to achieve. Under each objective the kind of activity which will be undertaken to support those objectives is described.

We have had a Workplan before but we have now agreed one which contains a detailed and strategically aligned set of activities, clearly explained, and coherently presented. The Workplan still requires Indicative Budget figures and Indicators of Achievement will be added to it by the Network Secretariat and Relative Priorities will be decided by the new Executive Committee.

The Network structure is described in detail in the Governing Framework but the main change from the past is that we now have a full time Executive Director (Simon Diffey) to lead our secretariat and you will already have received a separate email from the Network telling you about him, his qualifications and experience. We anticipate that Simon’s skills will be pivotal in driving the Network forward. With all these things happening I’m confident that we are seeing the start of a new and exciting chapter in the life of the Network and I look forward to working with all of you to ensure that we make it a powerful force for good.

With best wishes,
Cephas Ralph