Pacific fight against IUU goes high tech

Date: November 23, 2016

Source: Pasifik
Author: Island Business/PACNEWS

The Pacific Islands’ fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing has gone up another notch with the successful completion of a five-day training in Fiji of fisheries officers of 10 island nations. 

With the leadership of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), headquartered in Honiara, the fisheries officers have returned to their respective offices to spearhead the efficient capturing and analyzing of data on tuna catches and tuna fleet that are fishing in Pacific waters. 

“The five day RIMF training has been very productive and participants now return to work armed with the new knowledge on how they can capture data better,” said Kenneth Katafono, FFA’s Manager IT and lead trainer of the RIMF workshop.

“Participants were also able to trial a new RIMF app we had developed, and thanks to the support of the New Zealand Government, each country representative was given a new Samsung tablet that will help their boarding and inspection work when they return to their respective countries.” 

Mr Katafono said with the regional training completed, next step would be assisting each FFA member country integrate these new tools into their national information management systems. Using electronic tablets, which are loaded with the new RIMF app, fisheries officers should be able to accurately capture and store data, as well as identify infringements. 

FFA Director General James Movick said fisheries information management is one of the major approaches towards sustainable development and management of the Pacific tuna fishery. 

“Aspects of resource-sharing, data, fisheries reporting and monitoring, control and surveillance tools are a key part of the Future of Fisheries Roadmap against IUU in Pacific EEZs that our Pacific leaders have adopted,” said Mr Movick. 

 He said data deficiency was highlighted in an independent study the FFA commissioned in 2014 to quantify IUU in the region, and the study recommended the switch to electronic monitoring and reporting of tuna catches and the tuna boat fleet. 

“That IUU study estimated the total value of IUU in the Pacific at US$616.11 million, although the economic rent value of US$152.7 million is a better measure of the actual economic impact of IUU to members.” 

Other FFA member countries that participated in the training were the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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