The future of tuna catch documentation schemes

Date: November 2, 2016

Source & Author: Stop Illegal Fishing

A new publication, Design Options for the Development of Tuna Catch Documentation Schemes, exploring the nature of catch documentation schemes (CDS) and what they can achieve in global tuna fisheries has been published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It explores the factors to be considered in the design of CDS schemes as both a management tool, and as a monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) tool in tuna fisheries.

CDS are complex and involve a large number of rules governing the processes whereby stakeholders participate in the fishery and the international trade of its products. Rules must be clear to ensure that the CDS is implemented as intended. The new publication assesses the following points in detail:

• what is a CDS, and what does it intend to achieve?

• how does it work – what is the basic conceptual design of CDS?

• which key functions does a CDS need in order to meet its objective?

• what factors must be carefully considered when designing a CDS?

• are there compelling reasons to harmonise and unify tuna CDS at the global level?

• a model Regional Fisheries Management Organisation conservation and management measure for a tuna CDS

Sandy Davies of Stop Illegal Fishing welcomed the publication, saying that “trade related measures are a valuable tool in preventing illegally caught fish from entering into international trade. We have seen the success of schemes such as the CCAMLR and ICCAT CDS that have made a real difference to the illegal trade in Patagonian toothfish and Atlantic bluefin tuna. Especially in the latter case, evidence is now mounting that the onset of the gradual recovery of the stock can be traced back to the coming into force of ICCAT’s CDS.”

Author of the report, Gilles Hosch hopes that the technical guidance offered for tuna RFMOs may help in the development of CDS for commercial tuna fisheries in the future. “In its final chapter, the paper proposes a model CDS conservation and management measure, grounded in the mechanisms covered in the paper, which I hope will help with the development of tuna CDS by providing a functional blueprint to RFMO’s to start from.”

While the paper centres on tuna fisheries, many of its findings and argued proposals, regarding functionality and design options for catch documentation schemes, are equally valid and useful for their application in fisheries other than tuna fisheries.

The publication has been two years in the making and has involved the analysis of all current catch documentation schemes; visits to 20 countries with significant roles in global tuna supply chains, as well as nearly 200 interviews.

The publication Design Options for the Development of Tuna Catch Documentation Schemes was developed in the framework of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, co-funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the FAO and can be downloaded here.

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