Message from Cephas Ralph, Chairman International MCS Network

Dear Colleagues,
I’m delighted to be able to report on some recent developments the
Network. We have a new team coming together in the Secretariat in
Silver Spring, a new website, and some exciting new projects.
Let me begin by introducing the new MCS Network Secretariat Staff;
Harry Koster has joined us as Executive Director and will formally take
up post soon. In the interim he is working for us part time until he
can make the necessary domestic and visa arrangements to allow him to
move to Silver Spring. Harry proved himself an exceptional candidate
in the selection process and he has kindly agreed to join us at short
notice initial appointee was unable to take up appointment due to
unforeseen circumstances.
As many of you in the field will already know, Harry Koster has spent
the last five years as the Executive Director of the EU Community
Fisheries Control Agency in Vigo, Spain. Prior to that he was a senior
official dealing with Control and Inspection. He has held the Chair of
the Permanent Committee on Control and Enforcement of NEAFC and in
addition Harry has significant MCS and general Fisheries experience in
many other parts of the world. He will be publishing an introductory
note on our website soon.
I am very happy to have Harry on board. He is a well respected and
dedicated professional in the international MCS community and I know he
will bring energy, drive and experience to this new role. His email is
Last week we were also joined by Ariel Kagan, who will serve as the
assistant to the Executive Director and be the mainstay of our
administration in Silver Spring. Ariel has a bachelor’s degree in
Economics and Environmental Studies and, though not an MCS specialist,
she has a passion for marine sustainability. Prior to joining us, she
worked with an NGO on seafood mislabeling. She has already brought a
great deal of energy and a wealth of new ideas to the Network and I’m
looking forward to working with her. You can reach her at
We have also launched our new website I think
it’s a great improvement and I know Ariel plans to keep it fresh and
topical. Please check it often as this will be the main method of
keeping all of you and others up to date on progress on all Network
One of the latest initiatives I have to tell you about is our intention
to launch an international competition called The Stop IUU Fishing
Award. The main purpose behind the award is to recognise but more
importantly publicise the many novel and cost effective MCS methods
being used around the world. We propose to present the prizes at our
2013 Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop which will be held
in Central America.
To launch the award Harry, Michele and Ariel will be joining me at an
event at the 2012 Committee On Fisheries (COFI) meeting at the FAO in
Rome, July 9-13. For the first time the Network has been granted
observer status at the conference and I look forward to seeing some of
you there.
I hope you welcome these developments as much as I do but please let us
have your input and opinions on how you think the Network is
progressing and any ideas you have for projects we should consider
taking up.
I’d like to thank you for your continued support and efforts. Your
participation is what makes the Network possible and I hope you will
quickly see tangible benefits from the new momentum we have managed to
instill into the Network since the Chile business meeting. If you
want to know more on any area covered by the Network or have any
questions or comments, please email

Yours aye,
Cephas Ralph
Chair, IMCS Network
June 2012