For the last two weeks, I have been working here in Federated States of Micronesia invited by my colleagues from FFA and from NORMA (the local fisheries authority) as resource person and trainer in during Transhipment, Boarding and Inspection Training Workshop that took place in Pohnpei.
Interestingly the workshop took place while everyone was at the UN Ocean Conference in NY starting with a "tuna traceability declaration". But for that to take effect a lot of work still need to be done setting up the basics for it.
Unloadings need to be first assessed as legal, and then need to be accounted, yet that is easier said than done.
Officers are typically trained through the FFA process, including MCS and dockside boarding and inspection training. Yet by their nature, these trainings are aimed at the procedural and enforcement level, with limited involvement in the pre-arrival screening of vessels, logsheet assessment or the evaluation of volumes unloaded, and equally important; volumes exported as to detect fish laundering.
My contribution aims to provide a fisherman's perspective not only on the formal elements of harvest legality and enforcement but to the approaches associated with logsheet evaluation and data verification from other documents such as captain's logbook, engineers logbook, plotters, etc. as well as catch landings and transhipment monitoring.
Furthermore, I always like to give bring attention to the ‘why” are these activities are necessary and not just “how”.
We also had the opportunity to work with FFA's new Boarding Officers Job Aid Kit (BOJAK) App, that set all the paper based boarding forms into electronic forms, and provides on demand technical and compliance data in regards the boarding vessel. Then allows for the transmission of data via 3 types (Wi-Fi, Cellular or Satellite) connection automatically into the FFA IMS (the set of Fisheries Apps we have in the Pacific is going to be the matter for another blog)
I really do enjoy this type of work, and get a kick of getting to the boats, sharing my insiders' experience and get the feedback of the good people I’m working with.
I wish to thank my FFA colleagues Peter Graham, Dennis Koroi, Kenneth Katafono and Pole Atanraoi-Reim for the opportunities and trust extended during the workshop.And to Suzzane Gallen, Justino Helgen and Preleen Martin for NORMA for organising a superb event.