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Transshipment at Sea - The Need for a Ban in West Africa

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has found that many Western coastal countries in Africa have been unable to control and monitor transshipment at sea. These coastal countries have insufficient resources to inspect vessels before transshipment and instead rely on onboard observers monitoring for illegal activity, who have multiple shortcomings. With 37% of West African catch coming from IUU fishing, this activity puts marine management at risk and poses severe threats to the livelihoods of coastal countries' citizens. The EJF proposes banning transshipment at sea for these coastal countries, requiring them to work with the international community and improve their monitoring and control systems.

Tracking Refrigerated Transshipment Vessels to Inform the FAO's PSMA

This paper highlights the use of transhipment activities to hide IUU fishing. Transshipment allows fishing vessels to stay at sea; sometimes for years at a time and has been linked to transnational crime and human rights violations. The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) is a binding international treaty of the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
With growing participation in the PSMA AIS data can be utilised to better inform the decision making process and implementation. This paper discusses the methodology and application of AIS which offers reliable and accessible information regarding port visits that has previously been difficult to obtain.

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.

The Global View of Transshipment - Revised Preliminary Findings

In this research study, Global Fishing Watch uses AIS information to identify where transshipment can be happening and who is doing it. About 42 percent of potential rendezvous (what is identified through AIS data to track transshipments) occur on the high seas, with the rest happening within the EEZs of different nations–especially Russia. It is concerning, however, that those areas with higher levels of reported IUU fishing correlate with areas of high potential rendezvous. With such a high level of transshipments occurring on high seas, the global community could not only benefit from using AIS data to identify illegal transshipments but must also cooperate to address lax oversight and control. This revised report improves on the methodology of the earlier finding in February 2017.

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.

Strengthening Transshipment in Tuna RFMOs - 2019

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.

Report of the FAO Expert Workshop on Transshipment and IUU Fishing

The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) undertook a global report on transshipment activities including the state of transshipment regulations and practices, guidance on specific control mechanisms for transshipment, and the state of independent monitoring and control over transshipment. The COFI held a workshop to overlook their report and the Global Stakeholder Survey responses they received from 91 States. The workshop concluded, among various other findings, that transshipment threatens the marine environment and human rights abuses without effective monitoring and control. However, the practice is an important cost-effective fishing operation and does not in itself pose a threat to what was previously discussed–further research must be done to see the extent of illicit transshipment operations.

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 (2019)

This 2019 report discusses the need for Observer reporting of transshipments to provide data to the tRFMOs that is independent and reliable from both the carrier vessel and the fishing vessel. The report highlights the issues surrounding Observer reporting in the WCPF Convention Area and the responsibilities of all stakeholders including the tRFMOs, the flag States and the coastal States in relation to monitoring vessels who transship on the high seas.

No More Hiding at Sea - Transshipping Exposed

This report highlights the main hotspots for transshipping at sea noting that almost 40% of all likely transshipment occurred on the high seas, beyond country boundaries. Identifying three significant those being outside the EEZ of Peru, in a high seas pocket north of Russia and Norway and an area close to the EEZ boundary of Argentina, the authors make a number of recommendations to be implemented at the global level in an effort to curb IUU fishing.

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.

Identifying Global Patterns of Transshipment Behavior

This paper recognises seafood sustainability and human rights challenges associated with transshipment at sea
and seeks to identify global patterns in order to address these issues. Transshipment at sea, the offloading of catch from a fishing vessel to a refrigerated vessel far from port, can obscure the actual source of the catch. The authors analysed over 10,000 instances of fishing vessels loitering long enough to engage in transshipment of this, roughly 47% of the events occur on the high seas and 42% involve vessels flying flags of convenience.

Global View of Transshipment - Preliminary Findings - GFW

In this research study, Global Fishing Watch uses AIS information to identify where transshipment can be happening and who is doing it. About 42 percent of potential rendezvous (what is identified through AIS data to track transshipments) occur on the high seas, with the rest happening within the EEZs of different nations–especially Russia. It is concerning, however, that those areas with higher levels of reported IUU fishing correlate with areas of high potential rendezvous. With such a high level of transshipments occurring on high seas, the global community could not only benefit from using AIS data to identify illegal transshipments but must also cooperate to address lax oversight and control.

Global Hot Spots of Transshipment of Fish Catch at Sea

This study uses AIS data to identify when and where transshipment occurs, which fisheries and fleets are most involved in the practice, and what proportion of the high-seas catch is transshipped versus landed directly, altogether giving a detailed account of global seafood supply chains. Among many other findings, the study finds that fishing in EEZs was mainly landed directly, but on high seas, transshipment largely predominated. Fleet usage also differed with trawlers mainly used in EEZs and longline fishing dominated at high seas. The study ultimately shows how the type of catch and its location shape the infrastructure of the supply food chain involved (i.e. a history of poor monitoring, low compliance, and weak enforcement correlates with a large number of transshipments in Russian waters.) The findings of this study can aid in identifying where illicit activity can be happening and what warrants more monitoring, control, and surveillance.

Flags of Convenience Transshipment, Re-supply and At-Sea Infrastructure in Relation to IUU Fishing

This paper discusses the problem of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing on the high seas and acknowledges increasing restrictions put into place to attempt to deal with the problem. The paper reports on recent trends in the numbers of fishing vessels flying Flags of Convenience, discusses at-sea transshipment and resupply fleets (a key aspect of IUU fishing), recommends specific measures to manage at-sea transshipment and resupply and; place these recommendations within the context of international actions necessary to implement the UN FAO International Plan of Action on IUU Fishing.

Fishy Business - How Transshipment at Sea Facilitates IUU Fishing that Devastates our Oceans

Greenpeace undertook a research project to understand the extent of misuse of AIS by the global reefer industry. Greenpeace identified and studied 416 reefers that make up the majority of vessels that have transshipped at sea in the period 2017-2019. From these vessels, Greenpeace found multiple instances of violations of AIS, with proof in adopting 'flags of convenience' (most commonly, Panama), the behavior of vessel interactions with 'encounter' and 'loitering,' and transshipment in areas that are unregulated or pose a threat to marine habitats. The continued violations of AIS by reefers, according to Greenpeace, calls for a robust Global Ocean Treaty that will stop these harmful activities and protect our oceans.

Domino Effects of Cumulative Bias and Erroneous Data in Fisheries Big-Data Mapping Models - Case Study of GFW View on Transshipments - FishSpektrum

This report discusses the threat of erroneous data available to MCS practitioners which can in turn lead to poor decision making, loss of credibility and potentially the loss of independent and worthy technological projects.

The authors of the report emphasise the need for accurate, reliable data and reporting with scrutiny from peers to prove rigorous analysis.

Collective Best Practices for Well-Managed at Sea Transshipment

This report highlights three facets of transshipment as sea where improvements can be made to increase transparency, they include, 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.

Characterizing Transshipment at-sea Activities by Longline and Purse Seine Fisheries in Response to Recent Policy Changes in Indonesia

In an effort to tackle illegal fishing the Indonesia government introduced a series of regulations and policy changes that affect the fishing activities of domestic and foreign fishers. This study identified key behaviours by vessel operators that indicate violations of these regulations in particular relating to transshipment of purse seine and longline vessels. The study further highlights potentially unintended consequences as fishers respond to the new policies feeling their livelihoods may be under threat.

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

The PEW Charitable Trusts discusses best practice ways to monitor transshipment in an effort to identify and mitigate IUU fishing. This information sheet recommends and outlines best practices actions relating to reporting and monitoring transshipment events and the sharing of transshipment data among relevant parties.