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Approaches to Evaluate and Strengthen RFMO Compliance Processes and Performance – a Toolkit and Recommendations

This document was developed by an Expert Review Group based on outcomes from three Virtual
Expert Workshops on Best Practices in Compliance in RFMOs, convened by The Pew Charitable Trusts,
in collaboration with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), with the support of a
Steering Committee. The document examines the compliance processes of the RFMOs and makes several recommendations for their strengthening.

Human Rights and Maritime Law Enforcement

This article examines four major maritime law enforcement response areas: Drug trafficking, piracy, migration, and illegal fishing. It examines specific questions related to fisheries law enforcement including the detention of IUU fishers, use of force and under what circumstances may a vessel be destroyed. It finds that courts are increasingly addressing issues once considered within the sole discretion of government officials and operational commanders with the result being an ad hoc collection of judicial opinions, treaties, and multilateral agreements that lack coherence and consistency.

Unregulated Fishing on the High Seas of the Indian Ocean: The impacts on, risks to, and challenges for sustainable fishing and ocean health

This report presents the first study to use automatic identification system (AIS) data to examine the risks of unregulated fishing to ocean health. It also addresses the challenges faced by decision makers and regional management bodies to tackle unregulated fishing on the high seas of the Indian Ocean within the context of a failure to date to sustainably manage this global commons. The study discusses two institutional features that contribute to unregulated fishing on the high seas of the Indian Ocean: the gaps in spatial areas of competence and the gaps between the groups of species covered by regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs).

Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment

The Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment address the regulation, monitoring and control of transshipment of fish, which have not been previously landed, whether processed or not. They are elaborated to complement and support existing and new efforts and policies recognizing that all available means in accordance with international law and other international instruments, should be used to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and fishing related activities in support of IUU fishing.

Compliance Assessment in the Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations - A Comparative Review

The assessment of the implementation of, and compliance with, agreed obligations is a key component of the internationally accepted fisheries governance regime. To fulfill the objectives of the tuna RFMOs, participants must implement and comply with a range of RFMO obligations. All the tuna RFMOs have recognized a need for a structured process to assess the implementation of, and compliance with, obligations and have adopted compliance assessment processes. Compliance assessment processes provide a framework to assess implementation and compliance in a structured and consistent way and may identify trends in compliance over time. Compliance assessment processes seek to improve the performance of an RFMO and to support participants to better meet their obligations.

Transshipment-Strengthening Tuna RFMO Transshipment Regulations - 2018

This report reviews the transshipment measures of the five tuna RFMOs plus SEAFO and CCAMLR. Although each tuna RFMO generally prohibits at-sea transshipment except for large-scale longline fishing vessels with 100% observer coverage on the carrier vessels, their relationship, the report finds, with other MCS measures leaves multiple gaps and shortfalls. Through the analysis of non-tuna RFMO transshipment measures in critical comparison to the many shortfalls found with existing measures in tuna RFMOs, the report gives detailed recommendations to improve and strengthen tuna RFMO transshipment regulations.

The Impracticability Exemption to the WCPFC's Prohibition on Transshipment on the High Seas

The international community has sought to limit or ban-transshipment at sea due to the difficulty it poses in monitoring IUU fishing and controlling its effects. The WCPFC has banned purse seine vessels operating within the WCPFC Convention Area; however, for longliners and other vessels, the WCPFC merely encourages them to conduct transshipment at sea to the extent practicable. Despite proper infrastructure at port, a precedent of other vessels conducting transshipment at port, and insignificant costs, CCMs have used the "impracticability" test to continue transshipping at sea. This paper proposes replacing the "impracticability" test with bright-line rules to put an end to CCMs' patterns of transshipment at sea.

Strengthening Transshipment in Tuna RFMOs - 2019

This report builds on the literature that the ISSF has conducted on analyzing tuna RFMOs transshipment regulations(See 2014-2018 reports). This report reviews the transshipment measures of the five tuna RFMOs plus SEAFO and CCAMLR. Although each tuna RFMO generally prohibits at-sea transshipment except for large-scale longline fishing vessels with 100% observer coverage on the carrier vessels, their relationship, the report finds, with other MCS measures leaves multiple gaps and shortfalls. Through the analysis of non-tuna RFMO transshipment measures in critical comparison to the many shortfalls found with existing measures in tuna RFMOs, the report gives detailed recommendations to improve and strengthen tuna RFMO transshipment regulations.

Potential Ecological and Social Benefits of a Moratorium on Transshipment on the High Seas

RFMOs have the role of managing fisheries on the high seas. However, they have been under scrutiny before in their conservation of fish and monitoring and enforcing legislation. With transshipment at high seas becoming an increasingly salient issue, strong RFMO enforcement is ever more needed. This study examined all RFMOs' regulations and gave them a score on stringency. While RFMOs have not become less stringent since the late 1990s, the study concludes that a moratorium on transshipment at sea is needed to alleviate the lack of comprehensive monitoring, control, and surveillance.

Observer Reporting of Transshipments in WCPFC

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) manages fishing activity in the Western and Central Pacific Oceans, one of the largest areas in the world and one of the most valuable fisheries in the world. However, their ability to enforce transshipment rules to prevent IUU fishing is severely lacking due to insufficient funds and resources, specifically when it comes to onboard observers. The observers have failed at monitoring the activities of both the fishing vessel and carrier vessel during transshipment and reporting that information for independent verification. By adopting rules already in use by other t-RFMOs, the WCPF can significantly improve its current transshipment regime.

Legal Opinion on Transshipment in Ghana

Through examination of Ghana's Fisheries Act of 2002 and Fisheries Regulation of 2010, the TaylorCrabbe Initiative seeks to answer what the legal status of Transshipment in Ghana is and if the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development can allow transshipment at sea from industrial trawlers to canoes. Under their legal reasoning, they find that no act has allowed the transshipment of fish from local trawlers to canoes. The Fisheries Commission or Council can authorize forms of transshipment, but not the Minister. Unless the transshipment has been approved and properly supervised, transshipment in Ghana is illegal.

Collective Best Practices for Well-Managed at Sea Transshipment

Agreed on by leading NGOs engaged in global tuna sustainability, the best practices outlined ensure that at-sea transshipment is well-managed and transparent. The best practices come in three facets: management best practices, data reporting best practices, and monitoring best practices. The policies include 100 percent observer coverage either human or electronic for all at-sea transshipment events, require information on all at-sea transshipment events to be shared with the relevant RFMO, prohibit vessels from acting as both a fishing vessel and carrier vessel on the same trip and a multitude of other policies that fisheries can work towards implementing.

Best Practices for Transshipment - Global Reforms to Policies for Transferring Catch at Sea would Help Combat Illegal Fishing

The inadequate regulatory control and monitoring of transshipment, especially at sea, create gaps that enable illicit activity. Recognizing this inadequacy and its consequences, the Pew Charitable Trusts calls for a ban on transshipment until best practices are implemented. They outline multiple best practices across three categories, reporting, monitoring, and data-sharing. By implementing these practices, all parties can be assured that adequate guidelines are in place to make transshipment a more effective and safe practice, not contributing to IUU fishing.

A Review of Management and Reporting Trends Related to Transshipment Occurring within the IOTC Convention Area

The number of reported high-seas transshipment events in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Convention Area has increased by over 94% between 2014 and 2018. This growth in transshipment activity has not been met with equal management and monitoring regulations. The Commission implemented Resolution 18-06 requiring that all transshipments occur in port but allows large-scale tuna fishing vessels (LSTVs) to transship at sea if they are authorized by their flag CPC and comply with other specific requirements. However, this paper analyzes transshipment operations reported to have occurred within the IOTC Convention Area and finds that the resolution has flaws and that high-seas transshipment is increasing with insufficient monitoring and compliance. All of these problems are given a recommendation on how to address them.

The PSMA Implementation Toolkit - Pew

The UN adopted the Port State Measures Agreement (PMSA) in 2009 to stop the use of ports by IUU fishing and support vessels. However cost-effective they are, in many countries, particularly developing countries, a comprehensive set of tools is needed to support the practical implementation of the Agreement. To achieve this, the Pew Environmental Group developed the PMSA Toolkit, a resource that aims to help developing countries identify their capacity needs, provide them with key information, and guide them through the most technical and detailed elements of the Agreement.

Ports Task Force Ghana

The Ports Task Force Ghana (PTFG) is working diligently to implement the National Strategy and Action Plan for the implementation of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and complimentary international instruments and mechanisms. They have identified the threats of allowing IUU fishing to move through their ports for what it does to local fisheries, the economy, and the country's people. Through a detailed course of action and various partnerships, PTFG will work to bring an end to vessels suspected of participating in IUU from entering Ghana's ports.

Keeping Illegally Caught Fish Out of African Ports

IUU fishing contributes to the over-exploitation of natural fisheries resources and is detrimental to coastal communities' quality of life. IUU fishing has targeted African ports, which are at particularly great harm from the practice. To deter IUU fishing, the Port State Measure Agreement (PMSA) came into force to enable port officials to deny foreign vessels access to their port and services such as refueling and repairs if suspected of illegal activities. However, Stop Illegal Fishing recognizes the agreement itself is not enough. With the support of others, they will work to implement the PMSA in African countries through a holistic approach that requires looking at legal and policy issues, compliance and enforcement, and cooperation and awareness.

A Capacity Needs Assessment Methodology - Building Capacity to Close Ports to Illegal Fishing Vessels and their Support Vessels - Pew

The UN's ambitious PMSA intends to stop IUU vessels from entering port and ensure that vessels are complying with conservation and management measures, among other responsibilities. However, developing nations were concerned about the resources required to build this capacity. In response, the PEW Environment group is working to create a Capacity Needs Assessment (CNA) methodology, a tool states can use to find a personalized strategy in implanting the PSMA. The PMSA capacity building needs run the risk of being unfeasible for developing nations, but this CNA methodology provides a clear and accessible tool for bridging this divide.

Stop Illegal Fishing 2019 Annual Report

Stop Illegal Fishing's (SIF) mission is to combat IUU fishing, particularly in coastal African countries. To complete this goal, SIF has partnered with multiple African fisheries to implement the Port State Measure Agreement. SIF has a robust system to recognize and take action against illegally caught fish and illegal vessels (a check, inspect, and act process), which they are now developing into standard operating procedures (SOPs) that they train on the ground. They have also aided multiple task forces around Africa which translate into greater regional and international cooperation. Through their work in 2019, SIF is helping achieve a more equitable and effective blue economy.

FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

The 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (the Code) provides a set of international standards for responsible behaviour in the fisheries sector with to ensure the effective conservation, management and development of living aquatic resources, with due respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity. The Code is non-binding document and provides the framework for the development of other voluntary instruments including guidelines and international plans of action.