The 2018 FFA / SPC Regional Port Monitoring Workshop / by Francisco Blaha

I’m back to work and it could not be a better start. Quite a few people has been working hard on setting up a framework for Port State Measures (PSM) along the membership of FFA and SPC, but we are trying to do in a methodical and data driven way. Normally countries rush into stuff and then try to sort it out, well this time under the good leadership of my friend and colleague Pam Maru, they want to sort it out first and then walk into it.

 my home and flatmates for this week

my home and flatmates for this week

Is no news that PSM are an effective way of addressing IUU fishing and are generally focussed on determining vessel compliance with applicable conservation and management measures and laws, through port inspection regimes, since unfortunately we cannot trust always flags state as the first responsible for the conduct of its vessels.

Furthermore, the linkage of PSM’s with other port based activities that monitor and verify fishing vessel catches is a key step for effective CDS and in that way securing market access.

Technological advancements provide FFA members the opportunity to improve the effectiveness of their MCS arrangements and address some of the capacity issues faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS). However, assistance is needed to better define how emerging technologies can be used to advance MCS capabilities.

FFA is implementing a five year project funded by the New Zealand Government aimed at strengthening FFA member PSM’s with the objective of ‘Reduced IUU fishing in the Pacific through cooperative monitoring, control and surveillance programmes’.

The project recognises the need for intensive national work to develop and deliver instruments and tools that will enable FFA members to enhance their PSM’s. This will also provide the necessary frameworks for members to participate in information sharing and MCS activities regionally and internationally, and to better combat IUU fishing.

I’m doing this work with my colleage Damian Johnson a former NZ fisheries inspector, whom I work alredy in the past in the Pacific and Thailand. We are expected to deliver in four tasks are to be delivered within the timeframes outlined as follows:

Task 1
Review all current port based activities and programmes (legal, fisheries management, MCS or otherwise), in each FFA member country, relating to PSM and CDS. This should provide a baseline on which to further enhance both PSM and CDS.

Task 2
Develop a framework for port state measures that identifies the minimum MCS programme requirements to implement effective port state measures, in the context of Pacific tuna fisheries managed by FFA members.

Task 3
To compile all relevant market state requirements, including the identification of data and certification requirements, determine if these requirements are met within existing regional information management capacity and provide recommendations to strengthen port based activities to support these requirements.

Task 4
Develop an IUU risk/compliance assessment criteria for port state measures, taking in to account the IPOA-IUU, FFA vessel compliance index, WCPFC MCS programme requirements and other relevant considerations. This work must support port based vessel inspections and CDS functions.

So more than interesting and busy times ahead. Personally this stuff is at the core of my work over the last few years (PSM and CDS). In fact in the book we recently wrote we put a lot of attention on PSM, and I quote: “The port is the point at which fisheries products move from the seaborne to the land-based supply chain. Few other points are as important for a CDS”, and “It is largely the quality of port state monitoring and the work of its port-based fisheries officers that determine the risk of illegally sourced fish entering the land-based supply chain”

Hence a good start to the (already full)  2018 agenda!