Summary of WCPFC Technical and Compliance Committee meeting (TCC13) / by Francisco Blaha

As usual, the FFA Trade and Industry News is full of goodies, you should subscribe if you are not already. I quote below the Summary of WCPFC TCC13 outcomes that took place in Pohnpei, FSM. The meeting was attended by around 170 delegates representing 29 Commission Members and Cooperating Non- Members ( CCMs) and 6 observers. The recommendations will be taken up at the WCPFC’s Fourteenth Annual Session to be held from 3-7 December in Manila.

the standard relationship in between the resource users (big boat) and resource owners (small boats)

the standard relationship in between the resource users (big boat) and resource owners (small boats)

Following is a summary of some key outcomes from this meeting: 

  • No new vessels were recommended by TCC13 for addition to WCPFC’s IUU Vessel List; three existing longline vessels will remain on the list.
  • Applications for Cooperating Non-Member (CNM) status for Ecuador, El Salvador, Liberia, Mexico, Panama, Thailand and Vietnam will be presented to WCPFC14 for consideration; Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico have reiterated interest in becoming full Commission members; compliance status of CNMs will be taken into account when assessing CNM applications and associated participatory rights. 
  • The Compliance Monitoring Review (CMR), during which CCMs’ compliance with obligations in WCPFC’s conservation and management measures (CMM) is assessed, was conducted for the seventh year and in closed session. An independent review of the Compliance Monitoring Scheme (CMS) is currently underway, resulting in a TCC13 recommendation to extend the existing CMS measure for one additional year (CMM 2015-07), which is due to expire on 31 December 2017. 
  • An agreement was made to form an inter-sessional working group to address the need for CCMs to obtain copies of regional observer reports for their vessels in a timely manner for investigating possible violations; currently, considerable delays are experienced by some CCMs in receiving these reports. 
  • A recommendation was made to WCPFC14 to consider draft electronic reporting standards for observer data; TCC13 noted draft electronic reporting standards for high seas transhipment declarations and notifications. 
  • CCMs are recommended to comply with the existing data and reporting requirements for transhipment (CMM 2009-06), particularly those who have made a determination of impracticability regarding transhipment in port for large-scale longliners, who are required to submit to the Commission a plan detailing what steps are being taken to encourage transhipment to occur in port in future. 
  • TCC13 supported an SC13 recommendation that as a first step in FAD marking initiatives, the Commission considers introducing a buoy identification scheme, with field tests undertaken to determine the optimum configuration for future development of a full marking system; there is also a need for FAD data to be provided by observers for all vessels involved in FAD activities. 
  • TCC13 requested the Secretariat prepare draft terms of reference for the development of a comprehensive shark and ray CMM, which may consolidate and build-on multiple existing shark CMMs; TCC13 recommended a range of points that could be considered relating to full utilisation, data relating to non-retention policies, guidelines for safe release, mitigation measures, use of wire leaders and shark lines, submission of shark management plans and consolidation of reporting requirements. 
  • A US paper was noted on potential amendments to the existing sea turtles measure (CMM 2008-03) covering longline mitigation measures, development of specifications for non-entangling FADs and additional sea turtle-related observer data fields. 
  • New Zealand proposed amendments to the existing seabirds measure (CMM 2015-03) regarding seabird mitigation measures, recommending use of a hook-shielding device as an alternative stand-alone mitigation option, changes to specifications for tori lines on small vessels less than 35 metres and line weighting in line with best practices. 
  • TCC13 discussed technical and compliance issues relating to the new bridging tropical tunas CMM to replace CMM 2016-01. Discussions briefly covered issues including retention of MCS provisions, exemption clauses, frequency of VMS reporting requirements during the FAD closure, responses to non-compliance, stronger control of limits through robust monitoring, review of charter provisions and inclusion of non-ambiguous language. 
  • Marshalls Islands introduced a new draft CMM proposal on marine pollution urging CMMs to ratify MARPOL and the London Protocol. The proposal also prohibits vessel discharges of waste (oil/fuel, garbage, sewerage, fishing gear), includes annual reporting requirements to WCPFC on marine pollution, calls for research on fishing-related marine pollution, adequate port facilities to receive vessel waste and retrieval of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear. 
  • Korea introduced a new draft CMM on a standard of conduct for Regional Observer Program (ROP) observers which sets out requirements for observers while on duty and actions to be taken against observer misconduct. Unlike the existing Code of Conduct for observers, Korea’s intention is to have a binding CMM which is subject to review under the Compliance Monitoring Scheme. 

Let see what will happen next week in Manila.