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PEW First Virtual Expert Workshop on Best Practices in Compliance in RFMOs: Information Management, Reporting, Compliance Review, and Assessment

Recognizing that an RFMOs' performance can be compromised due to not complying with conservation and management measures, the Pew Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with the International Seafood
Sustainability Foundation held a virtual workshop in 2020. Convening nearly 30 experts associated with RFMOs, the workshop identified important drivers of compliance, with the challenges involved in each and potential solutions.

PEW Second Virtual Expert Workshop on Best Practices in Compliance In RFMOs: The Role of Transparency in Improving RFMO Compliance

Following their first virtual workshop in 2020, the Pew Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, held a virtual workshop in 2021. This workshop specifically covered the issue of transparency in RFMOs, an issue that experts identified in the last workshop as a driver toward improving RFMOs' compliance and assessment processes. Transparency is multifaceted, with experts recognizing that transparency can look different based on the situation (external vs. internal component), the parties involved, the sensitivity of data, and many other factors. But ultimately, the workshop identified the importance of transparency in RFMOs and gave detailed solutions for how to reach said goal.

Tuna Compliance Network: A Partnership for Sustainability

The Tuna Compliance Network (TCN) was established to facilitate communication and cooperation between officers responsible for compliance and experts in Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance. Implementing Conservation and Management Measures, specifically for highly migratory species like Tuna, can be challenging for RFMOs; however, as an informal network, TCN provides a unique opportunity for the exchange of information to take place between tuna RFMOs.

Survey of Tuna Transshipment in Pacific Island Countries

In a study commissioned by the Pacific Islands Foreign Fisheries Agency (FFA), transshipment and purse seine vessels are analyzed concerning the benefits accrued to Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The study finds that transshipment at port has not brought increased revenue in the past 18 years (as of the time of writing.) As gross revenues have not increased, neither have transshipment fees; PICs could benefit from standardizing fees not only to increase revenues but also because these fees help support monitoring and fisheries management efforts. High seas longline transshipment is there to stay for PICs, it makes financial viability possible for the fishing industry, but PICs must continuously monitor where transshipment is happening, and what benefits are accrued.

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.

Recommended Best Practices for RFMOs

This is the report of an Independent Panel tasked with developing a model for improved governance by RFMOs. The mandate of the Panel was to develop a model for improved governance by RFMOs based on an analysis of the requirements of international fisheries instruments and best practice in their application. The basic intention was that the model should not only be capable of providing guidance for assessing RFMO performance in relation to international fishery instruments and identifying possible strategies for improving performance but should also address important new and emerging issues of concern.