Weren't you a fisherman... So why you work on compliance? / by Francisco Blaha

The lovely folk of Tunapacific.org who have know and been providing with pictures for a while, called me for an interview on the tuna champion award, and they did a question that quite a few people seem to be puzzled by… Why I work in compliance? you know… after all fisherman are not very know for being very compliant.

for me is not about finding shit on others… we all have stuff to hide. But is about the system being fair for everyone.

for me is not about finding shit on others… we all have stuff to hide. But is about the system being fair for everyone.

Interestingly, i’ll say fisherman today are VERY aware of the issues and rules around compliance… either to keep inside of them or to work them on their favour… surely the moralistic will object to the later… but is no difference to what many do when they contract an accountant to to pay the minimal amount of tax…

Playing the rules is as old as rules. And I find it quite hypocritical when people point fingers at fishers for doing they pay their accountants to do… Anyway, that used to be part of my job in the past, and now I still in the same job but i’m just work with other teams as well in the same game. Yet my angle is about fairness…

When writing about my answer to that question, here is the text of the article, and I like it:

For someone who holds little regard for rank, the challenging world of compliance may seem like an odd choice of career. 

Francisco worked for New Zealand fishing companies such as Sanford and Simunovich Fisheries. It was here that he was introduced to a level of fisheries compliance he had not experienced before. To his surprise, he enjoyed the work.

“The fact that I am here today in New Zealand with this job is a function of my past, and relates to my appreciation of the concept of fairness and equal opportunities. I’m coming into it from the perspective of it being fair for all sides. It does not relate to enforcing rules,” Francisco says.

“For me, the so called fisheries ‘crisis’ is not a biological crisis, but one of politics, transparency, and fairness.

“I grew up in a country with not much of a culture of compliance, and while I felt that many of the rules were dumb, at least I expected they should have applied equally to everyone and not just to some. The equality of the rule of law in New Zealand is a rare cultural privilege.”

He says he had found a niche that suits him, working “in the middle” between regulators with whom he shares insights into fishing; industry, which he can help be more cost-effective; and the fishers, for whom he is a voice for decent working conditions and wages. 

He is proud of being trusted by all.

“People respect that you understand their job because you have done it yourself. For example, when you go on board, crew immediately know if you spent time fishing by the way you move on board, the fact that you know how to operate the instruments and the bridge—and that you can call them on technical issues when they are trying to derail the conversation when you find a compliance problem.

“It’s the same at factories. And in boardrooms. When people know you know your stuff, that is good for everyone to improve the industry.”

“Right now, the system is not fair, poor nations are pressured to make choices that favour short term gains, and is even worst socially… When I broke my knee on board back in Argentina, when I had exams at university, there was a ‘system’ set up by the fishers’ union to look after me. When I see the conditions and pay that many of the crews today have, it just upsets me! 

“I have the same posture on gender and diversity. I don’t participate any more on panels and conferences unless the organisers can prove that there is more diversity than at the last one. This is not some ‘new age’ thing I’m trying to pose for; it’s just that is not fair, and that is enough for me.

I was asked around this a couple of years back a similar set of questions and the answers are here: http://www.franciscoblaha.info/blog/2017/8/9/an-interview-