The IMCS Network was established in 2001 to promote and facilitate communication, cooperation, coordination, and capacity development across the fisheries MCS, compliance and enforcement community. The IMCS Network is an informal, voluntary organization that supports members from national, regional and international fisheries agencies and organisations. The Network also includes observers from IGOs, NGOs and academic institutions that support the objective of the Network and that play a key role in strengthening and enhancing responses to IUU fishing and focusing collective MCS efforts.
The establishment of the Network followed a commitment made by five countries through the Declaration of the International Conference “Responsible Fishing Declaration” in Santiago, Chile in 2000. The Declaration called for the establishment of a Network:
“for coordination of fisheries enforcement to facilitate the establishment of cooperation, information and technical assistance mechanisms in the areas of monitoring, control and surveillance”.
The Declaration was made to support the implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and called for urgent action to address IUU fishing. The Declaration specifically called on States to carry out their flag State duties particularly in relation to effective monitoring and control of flagged vessels, to ratify and implement a range of FAO instruments and to cooperate with FAO and other States to share data and information.
In 2012, the Network adopted its Governing Framework to provide guidance on the Network’s form, function and operation. The Governing Framework provides the Objective of the Network to:
“improve the efficiency and effectiveness of MCS concerning fishing and fisheries-related activities through cooperation, coordination, collection and exchange of information among the organizations or institutions responsible for fisheries and fisheries-related MCS activities”.
The Governing Framework reinforces the voluntary and informal nature of the Network and provides the principles that guide its work. The Governing Framework guides the development of the Network’s Strategic Plan and annual program of work. The Governing Framework also establishes the roles of the Chair and Vice-Chairs and the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee includes members that serve for three years and provide guidance on the operation of the Network. The Network is supported staff that provide expert support and advice to members and facilitate the advancement of global MCS efforts with observers and partners.
Since the signing of the Santiago Declaration by Chile, the United States, Australia, Peru and the European Union, the Network has grown to include 85 national, regional and international member and observer organizations and agencies. The Network has established two RFMO specific networks, the Tuna Compliance Network (TCN) and the Pan-Pacific Fisheries Compliance Network (PPFCN). The Network also facilitates the Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop (GFETW), a key initiative that brings together the global fisheries MCS, compliance and enforcement community to discuss key and emerging fisheries MCS challenges and opportunities, to exchange and share information and lessons learned.
The Network has entered a new phase of growth and expansion. The Network recently partnered to establish a new initiative, the Joint Analytical Cell (JAC) and has been advancing capacity development initiatives directly with members to combat IUU fishing and promote safe and decent working conditions on fishing vessels. The Network provides a range of resources and a communication platform to promote cooperation and information exchange between our members, observers and partners. The Network is looking to build on its position as the only organization of its type and ensure that we remain Authentic, Relevant, Consistent, Impactful and Innovative in meeting the needs of our members.
The establishment of the Network followed a commitment made by five countries through the Declaration of the International Conference “Responsible Fishing Declaration” in Santiago, Chile in 2000.
The IMCS Network adopted its Governing Framework in 2012 to provide guidance on the Network’s form, function and operation.
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.