This Friday we said goodbye to Eunice Borero, she has been until today the “engine” of the Marshall Island Marine Resources Authority well advanced efforts on Electronic Reporting (ER) and Monitoring (EM). Each of those emerging technologies is a universe in itself, and the fact that she was doing both a top level is just a testament to her willingness and capacity.
On the ER side, she managed the e-Obs system (I wrote before here) that allows observers using handheld tablets to file their daily reports, which are transmitted to MIMRA via the Iridium network. On top of that, the tablets have an SOS feature that can be used by observers if their safety gets compromised. She also made inroads on the e-log system for vessels logsheets under the same principles.
On the EM side, she has been pivotal on the trials MIMRA has been running the five vessel trial involving video camera and GPS systems placed on-board for collecting information on their activities. This information is later analysed by office observers when the vessels return to port.
She has managed not only the operational side but also training and coordination for the observers and fishing vessel captains using these new tools. She is so good at this that has also trained regionally gaining a lot of contacts and goodwill from everyone.
In an SPC Fisheries Newsletter, my friend Malo Hosken relates that she had to overcome quite a few preconceptions for being a woman, the article reports that: due to their regulatory responsibilities, engaging with vessel captains can be difficult for all fisheries staff. Eunice has sometimes faced prejudice or downright dismissal when on board some vessels. For example, once a captain asked her ‘if she had even been to school’. She has also experienced some observers being averse to the idea of receiving training from a younger person and a woman. So in her training sessions, Eunice begins by emphasising the importance of professionalism and cooperation. Eunice learns from observers about the fishing operations, as much as observers learn from her about ER and EMS developments. The common objective is for MIMRA to implement these new tools, which are not ‘plug in and play’ ready.
And if all this wasn't enough she has been working on the development of EM data standards for the WCPFC. No doubt, her work has made EM and ER a reality for us in the region, everyone that ever meet her would agree to that.
All these were emphasised in a farewell function where MIMRA's director Glen Joseph and the Minister in charge of fisheries recognised her contribution to our overall work.
Personally what I always always will appreciate about her, is that she an icredible work attitude and takes her job really seriously, yet she always has an amazing smile even in the most complicated days.
Her partner Jacob got a scholarship at a very prestigious university in London, and she is supporting that opportunity by being at his side, which is great for them, but lives a professional and personal gap here for us, while we can only be happy for her.
I have contacted my acquaintances at PEW, Ocean Mind and Global Fishing Watch in London, to keep her in mind if opportunities arise. Not every day you get a WCP EM and ER implementation expert landing at your door front with the experience to have been at the forefront of the tuna fisheries here in Pacific, and that practical experience is a unique asset.
Farewell Eunice! You will be missed, but our loss in the Pacific is the further fishing world gain. We surely will still see your excellent work and life attitude in the newer areas of fishing.