World Tuna Forum In Bangkok - 2016 / by Francisco Blaha

As every two years, in late May the tuna commercialisation world meets in Bangkok. Is no doubt the biggest event of its kind and a total talk fest. I'm again being invited to talk about the developments in fisheries controls we are doing in the Pacific, and this year I focused on the eCDS initiative.

I'm always ambivalent about my presence here. Almost every speaker mentions sustainability, and fight against IUU and the whole lot. But then, the DWFN keep adding capacity, finding gaps in the system, employing people from the most desperate backgrounds and nations to pay them less every year, while milking to the max the subsidies cow.

On the other side, in this world if you are not seated at the table, you are dinner. So I learn to accept that these are the rules of the game, and here is a description of the players.

I have to admit that I appreciate INFOFISH invitations to be a speaker at all their Tuna events while my message is technical, I'm very forwards with the disparity in between what I hear in this meetings and what I see in the Pacific.

Pacific Island Developing States have, in my opinion, invested proportionately much more than the DWFN in MCS and Fisheries Information Management Systems. Particularly in comparison with the nations with the highest numbers of fishing vessels in the region, such as China, Taiwan and Korea. These nations have virtually not supported any Authorities strengthening programmes, nor seem to put much effort into their obligations to control they own vessels IUU fishing, as specified by various international treaties.

This year my presentation finished with one of my usual questions:

How fair is expecting the Fisheries Authorities of small developing coastal and port states, to take on the burden of controlling the vessels of rich Distant Waters Fishing Nations that neglect their obligations, while subsidizing their fleet with amounts that far exceed the global estimates of IUU fishing?