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The rapid identification of a vessel type and its identification greatly facilitates MCS activities. The efforts of FAO towards standardizing the vessel marking to correspond with international radio call signs is an added advantage for identification and initiating communications with the sighted vessel.

This appendix has been provided courtesy of FAO to enable Fisheries Administrators to have key MCS information in one reference paper. The contents of this annex are reprints from FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, Definition and Classification of Fishery Vessel Types, 267 and The Standard Specifications for the Marking and Identification of Fishing Vessels. The original publications provide more detailed information in English, French and Spanish.

The first section of this annex addresses the fishing vessel marking requirements designed through several years of work by FAO.



The need for an international standard system for the marking and identification of fishing vessels was included in the Strategy for Fisheries Management and Development approved by the 1984 FAO World Fisheries Conference. An Expert Consultation on the Marking of Fishing Vessels convened by the Government of Canada, in collaboration with FAO, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, March 1985, elaborated the basis for a standard system.

A review of the report of this Expert Consultation by the Sixteenth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries resulted in a further Expert Consultation on the Technical Specifications for the Marking of Fishing Vessels convened in Rome, June 1986.

The Specifications contained herein were endorsed by the Eighteenth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, Rome, April 1989, for adoption by States on a voluntary basis as a standard system to identify fishing vessels operating, or likely to operate, in waters of States other than those of the flag State. The Director-General of FAO has informed the Secretary-Generals of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of the adoption of these Standard Specifications as an aid to fisheries management and safety at sea.


1.1   Purpose and scope

1.1.1   As an aid to fisheries management and safety at sea, fishing vessels should be appropriately marked for their identification on the basis of the International Telecommunication Union Radio Call Signs (IRCS) system.

1.1.2   For the purpose of these Standard Specifications, the use of the word “vessel” refers to any vessel intending to fish or engaged in fishing or ancillary activities, operating, or likely to operate, in waters of States other than those of the flag State.

1.2   Definitions

For the purpose of these Specifications:

  1. the word “vessel” also includes a boat, skiff or craft (excluding aircraft) carried on board another vessel and required for fishing operations;

  2. a deck is any surface lying in the horizontal plane, including the top of the wheelhouse;

  3. a radio station is one that is assigned an International Telecommunication Union Radio Call Sign.

1.3   Basis for the Standard Specifications

The basis for the Standard Specifications, the IRCS system, meets the following requirements:

  1. the use of an established international system from which the identity and nationality of vessels can be readily determined, irrespective of size and tonnage, and for which a register is maintained;

  2. it is without prejudice to international conventions, national or bilateral practices;

  3. implementation and maintenance will be at minimum cost to governments and vessel owners; and

  4. it facilitates search and rescue operations.


2.1   Basic system

2.1.1   The Standard Specifications are based on:

  1. the International Telecommunication Union's system for the allocation of call signs to countries for ship stations; and

  2. generally accepted design standards for lettering and numbering.

2.1.2   Vessels shall be marked with their International Telecommunication Union Radio Call Signs (IRCS).

2.1.3   Except as provided for in paragraph 2.2.6 below, vessels to which an IRCS has not been assigned shall be marked with the characters allocated by the International Telecommunication Union(ITU) to the flag State (see pages 25 to 28@ and followed by, as appropriate, the licence or registration number assigned by the flag State. In such cases, a hyphen shall be placed between the nationality identification characters and the licence or registration number identifying the vessel.

2.1.4   In order to avoid confusion with the letters I and O, it is recommended that the numbers 1 and 0, which are specifically excluded from the ITU call signs, be avoided by national authorities when allocating licence or registration numbers.

2.1.5   Apart from the vessel's name or identification mark and the port of registry as required by international practice or national legislation, the marking system as specified shall, in order to avoid confusion, be the only other vessel identification mark consisting of letters and numbers to be painted on the hull or superstructure.

2.2   Application

2.2.1   The markings shall be prominently displayed at all times:

  1. on the vessel's side or superstructure, port and starboard; fixtures inclined at an angle to the vessel's side or superstructure would be considered as suitable provided that the angle of inclination would not prevent sighting of the sign from another vessel or from the air:

  2. on a deck, except as provided for in paragraph 2.2.4 below. Should an awning or other temporary cover be placed so as to obscure the mark on a deck, the awning or cover shall also be marked. These marks should be placed athwartships with the top of the numbers or letters towards the bow.

2.2.2   Marks should be placed as high as possible above the waterline on both sides. Such parts of the hull as the bow and the stern shall be avoided.

2.2.3   The marks shall:

  1. be so placed that they are not obscured by the fishing gear whether it is stowed or in use;

  2. be clear of flow from scuppers or overboard discharges including areas which might be prone to damage or discolouration from the catch of certain types of species; and

  3. not extend below the waterline.

2.2.4.  Undecked vessels shall not be required to display the markings on a horizontal surface. However, owners should be encouraged, where practical, to fit a board on which the markings may be clearly seen from the air.

2.2.5   Vessels fitted with sails may display the markings on the sail in addition to the hull.

2.2.6   Boats, skiffs and craft carried by the vessel for fishing operations shall bear the same mark as the vessel concerned.

2.2.7   Examples of the placement of marks are set out in pages 47 to 69.


3.1   Specifications of letters and numbers

3.1.1   Block lettering and numbering shall be used throughout.

3.1.2   The width of the letters and numbers shall be in proportion to the height as set out later in this paper.

3.1.3   The height (h) of the letters and numbers shall be in proportion to the size of the vessel in accordance with the following:

a) for marks to placed on the hull, superstructure and/or inclined surfaces:

Length of vesselHeight of letters and
overall (LOA)innumbers in meters (m)
meters (m)to be not less than
25 m and over1.0 m
20 m but less than 25 m0.8 m
15 m but less than 20 m0.6 m
12 m but less than 15 m0.4 m
5 m but less than 12 m 0.3 m
Under 5 m0.1 m

b) for marks to be placed on deck: the height shall not be less than 0.3 m for all classes of vessels of 5 m and over.

3.1.4   The length of the hyphen shall be half the height of the letters and numbers.

3.1.5   The width of the stroke for all letters, numbers and the hyphen shall be h/6.

3.1.6   Spacing:

  1. the space between letters and/or numbers shall not exceed h/4 nor be less than h/6;

  2. the space between adjacent letters having sloping sides shall not exceed h/8 nor be less than h/10, for example A V.

3.2 Painting

3.2.1 The marks shall be:

  1. i) white on a black background; or

  2. ii) black on a white background.

3.2.2 The background shall extend to provide a border around the mark of not less than h/6.

3.2.3 Good quality marine paints to be used throughout.

3.2.4 The use of retro-reflective or heat-generating substances shall be accepted, provided that the mark meets the requirements of these Standard Specifications.

3.2.5 The marks and the background shall be maintained in good condition at all times.


4.1   The International Telecommunication Union maintains and updates a worldwide register of International Radio Call Signs that contains details of the nationality of the vessel and its name.

4.2   In addition to maintaining a separate register of its vessels to which IRCS have been assigned, the flag State shall also maintain a record of vessels to which it has given a nationality identifier (allocated by the ITU) followed by the hyphen and licence/registration number; such records should include details of the vessels and owners.


Mothership with catchers

Factory Mothership


Side Trawler - 51 m


Freezer Factory Trawler - 56m


Small Stern Trawler - 13m

Mid-Sized Stern Trawler -22m

Beamtrawler - 40m

Trawler/Seiner - 20m

Outrigger Trawler - 18m

Outrigged and Trawling


European Purse Seiner - 29 m


Tuna Purse Seiner - 64 m

Pursing the net

Small Purse Seiner

Seine Netters - 16 m

Seine Netting


Large Longliner - 33 m

Small Longliner - 14 m

Tuna Longliner - 66 m

Dredger - 22 m


Troller - 16.8 m


Pumper - 13 m

Japanese Pole and Line - 38 m

American Pole and Line - 34 m

Multi-purpose Vessel - 9 m

Large Pot Vessel - 26 m

Small Pot Vessel - 6 m

Liftnetter - 45 m

Liftnet Fishing

Sail - 7.4 m

Gill netting


Outboard - 4.8 m


All Fisheries Administrators and their staff have a need to be able to identify fishing apparatus and have knowledge as to how it entraps fish. This annex provides basic knowledge of the various fishing gear types in use in the world today.

Fisheries Officers come upon fishing gear during their patrols. In the case of gear which is set illegally, it is advantageous to be able to identify the owner of the fishing gear for further discussions. In the case of legal gear, it may also be necessary to identify the owner. Many fisheries laws now require fishers to mark their fishing gear with tags in a prominent part of the apparatus where it is easily seen. The markings are often the same as required for vessels, the call sign or name of the owner.

This annex has been provided courtesy of FAO to enable Fisheries Administrators to have key MCS information in one reference paper. This annex draws heavily from FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, Definition and classification of fishing gear categories, 222 Rev.1. The original publication provides greater detail in English, French and Spanish. The division of the diagrams of the fishing gear follows the same sequence as the original publication.


These nets surround the fish on the sides and extend underneath so the fish cannot escape. Purse seines are surrounding nets which after being set can be pulled together at the bottom, closing like a purse, and thus trapping the fish in the net.

Purse Seine

Lampara Net

This is a surrounding net without a purse line. It does have a scoop like a spoon as seen in the following diagram. The ring net is more like a purse seine with bridles to help pull in the net.


Beach Seine

These nets are usually set from a boat, but can be hauled from shore or the boat itself. The intent is to surround a large area of water to trap the fish in the area. As the net is hauled in the fish come ahead of it. Some beach seines have a bag in the centre to assist in driving the fish to the centre of the net as it is drawn to shore.

Boat Seines


These are towed nets consisting of a cone-shaped body, closed by a bag or codend and extended at the opening by wings. They can be towed by one or two vessels and different nets are used for bottom and mid-water trawling. In certain cases they can be rigged to sit off the side of the vessel (outrigger), or multi-rigged with more than one net being towed at the same time.

Bottom Otter Trawls

These nets operate near or on the bottom. They are held open by a ballasted ground rope coupled with float bobbins for the head rope. The design of the net is specific to the fish being sought, low opening for demersal fish and higher opening nets for semi-demersal and pelagic species.

Beam Trawls

These are operated in a similar manner to the bottom otter trawls.

Bottom Pair Trawls

This is one large net towed by two vessels.

Midwater Trawls

These nets are much larger than bottom trawls. They herd the pelagic and surface fishes towards the after end of the net. Their depth is usually controlled by means of a net sounder. They may be towed by one or two vessels.

Midwater Pair Trawls

Twin Otter Trawls


These are gear dragged along the bottom, usually to collect molluscs such as mussels, oysters, scallops and clams. The catch is held in a sort of bag or sieve which allows water, sand and mud to run out.


These nets are set in such a manner as to allow the fisher to attract fish with lights or bait. When they are over the net it is raised or hauled in to capture the fish. Lift nets come in various shapes and sizes. The two examples shown are for boats and smaller shore mounted apparatus.

Boat Lift Nets

Shallow Lift Nets


Cast Nets

These nets are operated from boats or shore. The net falls on the fish thus trapping them against the bottom of the sea.

Other Falling Gear

Cover pots and lantern nets operated in very shallow water fall in this category.


These nets are used to enmesh, or catch the fish by the gills, entangling them in the net itself. Different types of nets can be used together in one gear and they may be set in long lines, called “fleets”. These nets can be set at any depth and can drift or remain fixed to the sea bottom.

Set Gillnet

Drifting Gillnets

These nets drift freely at their set depth, on, or near, the surface.

Encircling Gillnets

This gear is set with the floats on the surface and the fish are circled in shallow water. Noise or other means are used to force the fish to gill themselves in the surrounding netting.

Fixed Gillnets (on stakes)

Trammel Nets

These bottom set nets are made with three walls of net, the two outer walls are larger mesh than the loose, smaller mesh centre wall. This entraps the fish in the inner wall after passing through the outer walls.

Combined Gillnets-Trammel Nets

The bottom of this gear is trammel net to catch bottom fish and the upper netting is regular gillnetting to enmesh semi-demersal and pelagic species.


Stationary Uncovered Pound Nets

These are large fixed nets, open to the surface, with various herding devices to retain the fish in the final “room” which is often closed at the bottom with netting.


These traps are used to catch fish or crustaceans by using cages with, or without, baited interiors. They can be set singly, or in strings.

Fyke Nets

These nets are set in shallow water and may be set separately or in groups.

Stow Nets

These are riverine nets for use in strong currents. They are anchored in the current and the framed openings face the current.

Barriers, Fences, Weirs, Corrals

Aerial Traps

This gear is to trap jumping fish. They come to a barrier and are sometimes frightened to make them jump onto the “veranda net” set on the surface.


Some fish are attracted to natural or artificial bait on a hook. There are many arrangements which can be constructed to catch fish in this manner with either single hooks or in a series. Some fish are attracted to hooks and then “jigged” when the hooks are hauled up and down in jerky movements. This is the principle behind the attraction of squid to the jigs on which they are caught.

Handlines and Poles

Set Longlines

These longlines have a main line to which “snoods”, smaller hooked lines, are attached and baited. These snoods are set at fixed intervals and the line can then be set at any depth in the sea. These lines may be set vertically in the sea.

Drifting Longlines

These lines are usually set near the surface. Drifting longlines may be very long with some tuna longlines known to be 100 km in length.

Trolling Lines

Several lines with natural or artificial bait are trailed behind a vessel to attract fish.


This section covers several gear types for which there are no diagrams. These include harpoons, spears, arrows, prongs, tongs, clamps and various scoop nets, hand implements used for fishing, poisons, explosives and electrical fishing. The two last gears are the pumper and mechanical dredges. These are methods of extracting fish and molluscs from the sea.


Mechanized Dredges


The fact that the MCS system for each country is going to be unique has been stressed throughout this paper, but it is true that there are core components and subject matter that should be included in every fisheries officer's operations manual(s). The actual content of each section will show the variability as to how each state wishes to address the subject matter. There is no one example that will be fully correct for each state consequently, it is recommended that each Fisheries Administrator use this annex as a guide only as to the subject matter for a manual.

A fisheries manual can be comprised of one or several documents which, as a whole, form the directives for fisheries officers. As the fisheries management and MCS procedures will evolve over time to address the changing situations encountered, the manual system should be easily amended. Records of the amendments should be included in each document, as this procedure then permits the reader to know under which latest authorities they are operating.

A 1991 initiative in the ASEAN countries resulted in a series of five manuals for general guidance in patrolling fisheries waters. These manuals were titled:

MCS I: Conduct of MCS Officer in Patrolling Fisheries Waters
MCS II: Procedure to Plan An Operation
MCS III: MCS Radio Communications
MCS IV: Log Books
MCS V: Guidelines on Prosecution

The Member States of the Forum Fisheries Agency have developed, over time, minimum terms and conditions for fishing in their collective fisheries zones. Training in MCS activities is regionally executed and, consequently, common standards for operations are evolving. The most recent document for MCS has been the aforementioned Fisheries Prosecutions Manual with two other papers expected in the near future, one on vessel monitoring systems and their use and a second on common terms for USE OF FORCE in fisheries MCS activities.

There are several examples of common fisheries operational procedures such as the regional system for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Conservation and Enforcement Measures.

A new publication, which may be available in the near future, promises to provide a very detailed explanation on the definition of coastal and offshore zones, fishing agreements, terms and the negotiations for such with international fishing interests, use and procedures for surveillance, observers and the administrative requirements and procedures behind these operations. This document could assist many Fisheries

Administrators in further addressing the development of their operations manuals.

Common to most of these manuals, both on a national and regional basis, is an introductory section which sets out the organization, its mandate and policies with respect to fisheries management. This introduction now often includes direction as to the interaction expected between fisheries and other coastal and ocean interests of the government(s). In the Philippines, for example, there is an inter-agency committee on enforcement which addresses fisheries and other coastal zone management concerns. This committee provides overall direction to ministries involved in MCS activities.

The optimal National MCS organization, according to a consultant for the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1992, included an office of Executive Direction (President/Prime Minister and Cabinet), a Policy and Coordination Committee (Lead Minister for MCS and concerned Public and Private Officials), Chief of MCS (Officer in Charge of day-to-day operations), Surveillance Centre (Officers for coordination of specific operations) and Information Data Collection and Compilation. The latter includes the information from ship-based personnel and equipment, intelligence networks, aircraft, other countries, reporting systems and personnel on MCS activities from other agencies.

Following the introductory section might be a reasonable place to include the authorities and powers vested in fisheries officers. This then sets the stage for officers as to their duties and responsibilities. The identification for fishery officers is often referred to in this section with appropriate descriptions in appendices. Examples of identification cards follow:

FFA Identification Card




A common section included in all manuals is the current fisheries management plans for each fishery. Accompanying each of these plans should be the operational strategy to implement the plan. It is this latter document which is of considerable importance for the fisheries officer, as it sets not only the priorities for action, but also the detailed procedures to be taken for monitoring, the control directives and the surveillance/enforcement action. Some of these procedures are common and hence can be grouped, but any special considerations for each fishery are best noted along side the management plan and implementing policy. These plans would provide information on the management system for the fishery; effort, area, overall quotas, individual quotas, trip limits and others noted earlier. The fishing gear permitted and its attachments or prohibitions on methods for setting would also be noted here. The MCS plan would detail how the different aspects of the plan are to be monitored and surveilled, if special techniques are required. Special monitoring requirements for data would be noted in this section as well, including any special obligations for the fishers. This procedure would be necessary for each fishery, and if there were different requirements for sectors of each fishery, due to agreements with the industry or international negotiations, fisheries officers would need to be familiar with these conditions as well.

There are other core sections for each manual which would not change appreciably over time. These include the gear specifications, measuring methods, approved attachments, marking for vessel and gear identification, reports required from the fishers, internationally recognized instructions for stopping the vessel for inspections, boarding procedures, arrest procedures, the international aspects of the Convention onthe Law of the Sea, pertinent regulations, communications procedures and codes, to name a few. The boarding and inspection procedures, the approach to the fisher for monitoring are

procedures with which every fisheries officer should be very familiar. Approved reaction to hostile and aggressive responsesand to inspection and monitoring activities should be clearly described in the fisheries officer's manual. This relates closely to the powers and authorities and will impact significantly on the success of prosecution activities when these are necessary. This section, commencing with the identification of the officer(s), through the entire inspection or monitoring procedure to the final reports and follow-up action, should be detailed in the manual and reference to it included in every briefing of officers.

Other information for officers could include fish identification guides, gear identification guides and monitoring/measurement requirements for fisheries stock assessment activities.

Therefore, without pre-empting the prerogative of the Fisheries Administrator with respect to format and appendices, a possible operations MCS manual could resemble the following:


Amendment List and Dates


Background and history of the fisheries in the country.
Linkages with other Ministries
Linkages with other Governments for support

Authorities and Powers

Identification of Fisheries Officers and their equipment, vessels, vehicles and aircraft.
Fisheries Agreements       - national       joint ventures, special fishing for research, etc.
                                           - international
Convention on the Law of the Sea       -    pertinent clauses and definitions of zones

Fisheries Management Plans
These would include all the parameters for each plan including the controls to be used, effort, quotas, areas, gear, seasons and their combinations.

Plan 1-Pelagic
 Fish Identification Guides
 National Plan
 International Plan
 MCS Implementation Plan
 data collection
 special regulations and policies
 enforcement strategy
Plan 2-Demersal
 Fish Identification Guides
 National Plan
 International Plan
 MCS Implementation Plan
 data collection
 special regulations and policies
 enforcement strategy
Plan 3-Crustaceans, etc.
 Fish Identification Guides
 National Plan
 International Plan
 MCS Implementation Plan
 data collection
 special regulations and policies
 enforcement strategy

Fisheries Habitat Management Plans

Areas for special concern
Monitoring and control procedures

Vessel Types and Markings

Fishing Gear Guidelines

MCS Operational Procedures
    Data Collection
    Boarding and Inspection
           hostile/use of force guidelines
    Disposal and security of goods seized

    evidence gathering and security of same
    detention and ordering to port for further investigation
    arrest procedures
    pre-trial actions
    trial procedures
    post trial activities
Patrol planning    air
Pre-patrol briefing and check list
    safety equipment
    report forms
    inspection and data collection equipment
    gear check
    translation guide for inspections (if necessary)
Patrol report guides
Post patrol de-briefing check procedures
Communications guides
    radio frequencies for support stations
    radio procedures
    names and telephones of key persons for support, by Ministry

Reports and Documents

These include samples of the various reports with detailed instructions as to the proper completion of each document, where these instructions are necessary.

Common terms and conditions for licenses
Fisher's license
Vessel license
Vessel movement reports
Vessel inspection reports
Seizure reports/receipts/evidence tags

Fishing log interpretations for fishing, processing, freezing, transhipment and storage
Witness statements
Certificates, where these are appropriate
Data collection reports - biological, social and economic
Patrol reports

Port State Controls and Contacts

Annex D.

Training requirements for Fisheries Officers will vary in every country due to many factors, not the least being the level of the fisheries knowledge and the corresponding standards of education in the State. There have been two major fisheries training needs assessments in the past few years, one in the South Pacific for FFA and a second in the Caribbean for the CARICOM Fisheries Resource Assessment and Management Program. Although the details varied with respect to the training required, it was noted that training should be an ongoing exercise and there should be a commitment to enhance the capabilities of fisheries staff as they increase their responsibilities. Training should correspond to the responsibility level of the position and be matched by the general educational level of the recipient. In the Caribbean, for example, the broad categories of fisheries field staff include fisheries assistants, fisheries officers, senior fisheries officers and chief fisheries officers/fisheries directors/fisheries administrators. Each of the general levels has several different titles. It was noted that the shortage of individuals with formal secondary education places pressure on those with said education to accept a much higher level of responsibility and, consequently, their own formal training and educational level needs to be at a high generalist/managerial level to give them the capability to address the wider range of issues, compared to countries where the human resource pool is sufficient to fund and attract specialists. This is more evident as the seniority of the individual increases.

Fisheries Assistants tend to be technical level officers who are in the infancy of their careers and consequently required introductory and hands-on technical training. It is expected that this level of officer would possess a minimum of high school or “A” level formal education to be able to respond appropriately to the training recommended. Officers below this level would be encouraged to upgrade their formal education. The fields of study for these officers should include, in random order, the following:

level 1 orientationfishing methods
fish handlingnavigation and safety
extension field workcommunications
administrationresource management principles
basic biologyfishing gear design and construction
gas and diesel maintenancevessel repairs and maintenance
small fish business practicesintroduction to computers

Fisheries officers, on the other hand, are expected to possess a formal degree in a fisheries or marine related field of study. Their level of training for their duties emphasizes a higher theoretical level of resource management.

Their training should focus on the following:

level 2 orientationresource assessment applications
aquaculturedata collection techniques
socio and economic principlesfish technology
fisheries developmentfisheries law
sea use planning introductionextension field training
policy and planning skillsintroduction to oceanography
advanced computer skills 

Senior fisheries officers, with supervisors in the fisheries department, are expected to possess a minimum of a first degree. It was seen as advantageous if one has a post graduate degree in a related field. This level officer, as a supervisor and senior individual in the department, would be called upon to manage personnel and represent the department at meetings regarding ocean use management in general. The individual needs greater knowledge of the integrated ocean management principles and techniques to properly represent the department. The training suggested for this level of officer includes the following subjects:

level 3 orientationstock assessment
environmental impact assessmentsurvey descriptions
value added product skillsfinance and administration
data interpretation and analysesproject management
aquaculturepersonnel management
survey methodologiesgeneral management skills
human resource developmentintegrated sea use planning
advanced fish marketing strategies 

Fisheries administrators are again expected to have a minimum of a first degree in a related field and considerable field experience. These individuals are the department's representatives to the government and require senior level management skills as well as knowledge and ability in the planning and policy side of fisheries and habitat management. Subject areas identified for this level officer include:

senior management orientationprogram development & mgt.
policy development & mgt.fisheries dev. & mgt.
Convention on the Law of the Seadonor agency programs
international affairssocio and economic analyses
communications skillslegal interpretation
personnel managementsenior management skills
finance and administration 
MCS strategy and policy development and implementation.1

This information is presented as one example of a regional initiative with respect to an assessment of fisheries training required to meet gradually increasing levels of responsibility in the fisheries departments. It might be noted that there appears in the above example a dearth of information on fisheries MCS, except at the final level. This may be true, but it could be expected that the general orientation and the fisheries management training would cover this area of responsibility. It might, however, be clearer if the MCS training commences at the first stage and progressively increases in profile and

1 O'Reilly, A. and Clarke, K. (1993).

tasking at each level. Certainly it would be expected that officers would all require considerable training in this area of work with emphasis on the enforcement aspects of MCS, if fisheries are to carry out the surveillance aspects of fisheries management, or guide the other ministry officials seconded to them for this purpose. Fisheries administrators and their field staff would require the knowledge to guide these individuals appropriately in fisheries management techniques and priorities. It does appear common to all training packages for fisheries that the following general subjects are required for fisheries officials to carry out their duties:

resource managementhabitat management
data collection and analysisenforcement/surveillance
public relationsadministration
personnel supervisioncoastal zone planning and
and managementintegrated management
policy development and implementation 

It has been found through experience that training for fisheries can best be achieved through the use of modular training techniques. This can assist in minimizing the time the officer needs to be away from duty and permits assimilation of the theoretical knowledge into practical experience between training sessions.

The emphasis and detail for each subject will be determined by the Fisheries Administrators to meet the individual needs of their countries. Training, especially on a regional or sub-regional basis, is an area of high interest to all donor agencies.

As this paper is focused on MCS, an expansion of that module might assist Fisheries Administrators in planning the training programmes for their staff. It must be noted that the fisheries officer will not be fully qualified to carry out MCS duties following this module, due to the fact that it is the linkage and knowledge of the other training modules which cements the capabilities into a competent whole.

Without setting priorities for the training, some of the task modules which might be concentrated upon during the training would include:

- understanding of the Department's mandate and jurisdiction
   *   answer the questions as to why there is a fisheries department and what it is?
   *   answer the question as to how far does its authority extend?

   *   the purpose and scope of MCS/the objective of the country's MCS policies
   *   the purpose of MCS
   *   difference between MCS and enforcement
   *   difference between actual and preventive enforcement
   *   departmental MCS policy
   *   difference between renewable resource management and other management strategies

- principles of law
   *   the purpose of the law
   *   the role of society in establishing law
   *   the impact of law on society
   *   how laws are made in the country
   *   the meaning of the law (interpretation of the law)
   *   what is meant by case law, common law, civil law, summary conviction and indictable offence
   *   powers of search, arrest, entry and settling disputes as established in fisheries law

- the court system
   *   how the judicial system works
- levels of the courts and authorities
   *   court terminology

- introduction to the fisheries laws - acts and regulations
   *   how to interpret the Fisheries Act(s) and regulations
   *   the lay-out of the Act(s) and regulations
   *   the use of the Act(s) and regulations
   *   authorities and powers of fisheries officials

- the support resources available to address the task
   *   who controls the support services
   *   how are these resources accessed
   *   emergency support

- the co-operation and linkages with other ministries that are necessary for successful MCS implementation
   *   which ministries may become involved in fisheries MCS activities
   *   what are their procedures which impact on fisheries MCS activities
   *   who are the contact persons in these ministries
   *   what is the official mechanism to interact with these officials
   *   what is the mechanism in off-hours or emergency situations

- determining MCS priorities
   *   identify MCS problems
   *   identify problem area and the impact of continued activities
   *   develop a plan and allocate resources

- planning MCS activities, data collection and surveillance patrols
   *   routine patrol planning for land, sea and air patrols
   *   dedicated patrol planning for land, sea and air patrols
   *   measure fish, fish catches and fishing gear
   *   collect scientific information through sampling techniques
   *   collect socio and economic information through questionnaires
   *   stop vessels at sea
   *   stop motor vehicles
   *   develop local contacts and sources of information/community relations
   *   conduct checks of licenses, vessels, gear, vehicles, facilities and persons

- determine the violation
   *   evaluate the situation
   *   conduct searches
   *   evaluate complaints

- apprehend violators
   *   establish identification of self and alleged violator
   *   advise alleged violator of offence
   *   obtain information from the alleged violator and witnesses
                exhibits, care and security
                interview techniques
                use of recording equipment
                questions to ask
                evidence, definition and use thereof
                definition of threat, promise
                elements of a charge
                separation of alleged violators
   *   issue appearance notices, warnings or secure certificates

- arrest alleged violators
   *   ensure custody
   *   searches
   *   rights of the alleged violator
   *   release from custody
   *   appearance notices
   *   policy on use of force
                issuance of firearms
                policy on use of firearms
                practical firearms training
                armed boarding training
   *   application of use of force
                procedures for escalation of use of force

- gathering evidence
   *   maintain the scene of the alleged violation
   *   make and secure seizures
   *   obtain exhibits
   *   continuity of evidence
   *   statements
   *   liaise with senior staff and counsel

- charge alleged violators
   *   violation reports
   *   prepare information
   *   summons
   *   laying of information and summons
   *   serving summons
   *   proof of service of summons
   *   subpoenas
   *   executing warrant of arrest
   *   orders of forfeiture

- court procedures
   *   court duties
   *   giving evidence

- completion of final documentation
   *   return of prosecutions
   *   court case follow-up action

- completion of final procedures
   *   return seized items or proceeds
   *   disposal of forfeited items

- review and evaluation of MCS program
   *   assess MCS activities
   *   recommend amendments to procedures or control mechanisms
   *   recommend enhancements to MCS procedures, equipment, staffing, training, etc.12

12 The CFRAMP Training Needs Assessment, FFA Training Needs Assessment, training programs in Canada, FFA, Belize and USA have been used extensively to produce this summary of training modules.

Annex E.

This Annex is very dependent upon the objective of an observer program. If it is assumed that observers will be employed by the State, or a third party acting on behalf of the State, and they will be used for data collection and advice to the vessel master only, with no enforcement powers, then the following could comprise elements for their training. The material for this section has drawn heavily on the FFA and Canadian experience. These have been relatively good experiences, but it has been found that without the Government commitment to take the observer programme seriously, it can be a very abused fisheries management tool.

Problems which can be encountered include hiring practices, poor work practices, lack of commitment, lack of funding received at the programme level and lack of basic educational skills. The personal integrity of the observers is an important factor, as fabricated data sets, if used can distort the fishery management advice and hence impact very negatively on the fish stock assessments. These points are brought out to note the requirement for full government commitment and support for this programme, if it is to succeed. This is not a programme that is appropriate for all countries, and where this is the case, it should not be used.

The complexity of the observer programme can be assessed and decided by the Fisheries Administrator in accordance with the needs of the State and the level of competence of the staff available. As with fisheries management, each observer programme should be custom designed for the State. The following, therefore, is a listing of elements and some detail on the lecture content for observer training which can be drawn from as required by the Fisheries Administrator in the design of the programme.


  1. Role of Observer

    The role of the observer will be stressed in that he may only observe, record and report. The methods by which each of the aforementioned is accomplished will be addressed. It will be emphasized that part of the reporting requirements is to advise the master of irregularities.

    The appropriate regulations concerning observer safety and rights will be addressed for both foreign and domestic vessels. The intent of these regulations will be explained.

    In an introductory lecture on the duties of an observer, the two principle aspects of the job should be emphasized.

    1. Monitoring compliance of fishery laws,
    2. Conduct biological sampling.

    The fact that each of these basic principles is complementary to the other will be explained. The basic tools: observing, recording and reporting will be emphasized.

  2. Introduction to Fisheries to be Observed

    A brief lecture on the fisheries to be covered by fisheries observers will be given noting the fish species and common gear used to catch these fishes. This will be broken down into national and international fishing authorized in the zone.

  3. Introduction to Fisheries Laws

    These sessions are pertinent if the observer is hired to monitor compliance of the vessel and crew with the national fisheries legislation. The sessions would be structured to cover, in detail, the various acts and regulations for fisheries with particular emphasis on areas of concern for fisheries management. Some of the subjects would include:

    Authorized fishing areas
    Authorized fishing gear
    Fisheries management plans for each species
    Records of fishing
    Prohibitioned catches
    Unauthorized fishing activities

    These sessions will also address the problem areas in the fisheries with respect to compliance with fisheries laws. These could include misreporting in the logbooks through mis-representation of the conversion of fish from product wieght, or fish reduction, back to whole, round weights; area violations; double book-keeping of catches, one for the inspector and the real one for master; discarding and dumping.

  4. Catch Estimation

    This session is to note the various catch estimation procedures available to the fisheries official/observer to verify the actual catch of the vessel. It will also note the difficulties of estimating when mixed species are involved.

      1. A brief introduction as to the importance of estimating catches as accurately as possible, explaining that the estimate of total catch is the most reliable estimate and that species in the least quantities should be subtracted from the total catch with the remainder assigned to the species in the greatest abundance.

      2. Emphasize the importance of accurate estimates in relation to monitoring the vessel's catch recording/reporting practices.

    1. Total Catch Estimation techniques are discussed

      1. Codend estimation once on deck, highlighting the use of strengthening straps.

      2. Utilizing the bunker which holds a known quantity which can be determined by interview and/or

      3. Use of baskets to determine a density figure applied with a measurement of the bunker.

      4. Crew member estimates
        1. Caution on estimating of catch in processed weight,
        2. Caution on the possibility of misleading information,
        3. Comparison of icer's figures to logbook's figures in relation to determining whether dressed or round weights recorded.

    2. Species Composition Estimates

      1. Utilization of percentage estimate while catch is being dumped.

      2. An actual estimate of weight in codend when species are of small quantities during dumping of codend.

      3. An estimate based on how many baskets that species would fill, while being dumped, compared to what a basket of that species would weigh.

      4. Observation of the catch being processed-know what percentage of catch has been processed and compare it to the percent estimate of species observed to have been processed and extrapolate back to total catch.

      5. Observation of catch culled in factory.

    3. Verification Techniques

      1. Bunker capacity - density
      2. Crewmember estimates
      3. Icer's figures/processed fish

    4. Discard/Reduction Estimates

      1. Weighing of all fish

      2. Weight of fish/time period/processing time

  5. Conversion Factors

    1. The definition of a conversion factor as associated with the fishing industry will be explained. The source of conversion factors to be used will be discussed.

    2. Symbols such as pie's will be applied using the percent (100%) concept in order that individuals may understand how a conversion factor is derived.

    3. Given a known quantity that can be converted back to a whole (100%) by utilizing a conversion factor, what percentage would be non-utilized, material.

    4. The concept of the already compensated for material which was not utilized, being produced as a by product thereby not requiring conversion will be put forward. The pie concept will be used.

    5. Finally this will all be drawn together by substituting the pie for a fish undergoing processing.

  6. Gear Type

  7. This training is focused on the identification of various fishing gear, their component parts and how to measure the parts to ensure compliance with fisheries laws, if there are such, pertaining to mesh size.

    1. A brief discussion on the importance of being able to identify gear types and component parts to ensure compliance with the authority in the fishing licence.

    2. Examples of component parts of trawls will be shown by utilizing diagrams and a model with a brief explanation of the purpose of each component given. Modifications will also be discussed at this time.

    3. Diagrams of various gear types will be shown highlighting the differences between gear types. Distinctions will be discussed.

    4. Utilizing a diagram and a model, indicate what measurements are necessary to ensure the fishing gear is measured in a fashion acceptable to the courts of the land.

  8. Introduction to Navigation

  9. Part of every observer's training is to know where the vessel is fishing. This minisession on navigation will assist the observer in this regard.

    1. Latitude and longitude will be explained as to the orientation on a chart. The component parts will be shown: degrees, minutes and seconds, explaining the significance.

    2. Basic plotting of a position will be shown with each individual having to plot several positions.

    3. Distance travelled between points in relation to speed and time will be discussed.

  10. Biological Sampling Methods

  11. This would be a lecture on biological sampling methods highlighting proper sample collection.

    1. Random samples
    2. Stratified samples
    3. Combined samples
    4. Processed samples
    5. Discard samples
    6. Reduction samples

  12. Species Identification

  13. Every observer needs to know the identity of the species which are being fished in the country's waters. There needs to be at least one session to ensure the observers are very familiar in this process.

  14. Sampling Techniques and Requirements

  15. Where it is decided that observers will also be utilized to take biological samples for the resource assessment activities of the stock assessment personnel, the individual will need to be trained in various sampling techniques and standards in accordance with acceptable scientific procedures. Some of these are noted here for reference.

    1. The actual types of samples taken in relation to their importance in the overall sampling scheme of the State will be noted.

      1. directed species
      2. bycatch species
      3. reduction
      4. discard
      5. otoliths
      6. specific requirements

    2. Numbers of individuals comprising a sample will be addressed.

    3. Sample selection will be reiterated.

    4. Length frequencies will be discussed with demonstrations.

    5. An actual length frequency will be done by each candidate.

    6. Sexing of fish will be demonstrated. Each candidate will obtain hands on experience.

    7. Otolith collection will be demonstrated on various species. Hands on experience will be obtained.

    8. Morphological requirements will be discussed and demonstrated. Hands on experience will be obtained.

    9. It will be emphasized that full morphologies are required while taking otoliths and it will be stressed that during morphologies all information with the exception of collecting the otoliths is required.

  16. Logbooks

  17. The fishing records of the activities in the country's fisheries waters are the only real written record of events. Observers must be familiar with all aspects of fishing records to ensure they are being completed correctly. This includes ensuring all the data are being recorded regularly and accurately. Such data might be:

    1. Date, licence number, activity, position time, depth, gear, mesh size, retained and discard estimates by species.

    2. Format for fishing sets by gear and the correct times.

    3. Licence number, vessel name, side number, date and the proper entry of species by product form.

    4. The proper determination of meal produced from offal, considering product produced, will be explained. The lecture will consider individual species and product forms produced. The approach used will be:

      1. Identify what products have yielded waste that will go to meal. Emphasize products frozen round do not yield offal.

      2. Has any of the waste material been utilized to produce a by product. Identification of some of these products.

      3. Convert all product forms to round that have produced waste that will go to meal.

      4. From the total round weight determined in step (c) subtract the product weights of all products that have been converted to round. Also subtract the weight of any material identified in step (b) as having been produced as a by product.

      5. This is now the total round weight of waste material that will go to meal. This figure divided by the fishmeal conversion factor provided by the vessel will give the amount of meal (product wt.) that will be produced.

    5. Determination of round fish produced as meal will also be discussed.

      1. It will be noted that estimates of round fish will often be utilized by the vessel to arrive at this figure.

      2. The utilization of appropriate conversion factor for meal production will be explained. The product weight can then be converted back to round wt.

      3. The fact that excess meal production must be reported as round fish to meal will be discussed.

    6. Problem Areas - Areas where misreporting can occur will be discussed. Specifically the recording of estimates for kept and by catch species, area of capture and start position will be covered.

    12. Documentation of Irregularities

    The three places in which information pertaining to infractions are documented, and the purpose of each, will be discussed:

    1. Notebook - purposes:

      1. to aid in the monitoring process;

      2. to aid in report writing;

      3. to aid in accurate testimony;

      Ongoing entries should be made at the first possible instant.

    2. Observer Diary - purpose is to provide a detailed chronological documentation of trip events, used to assess situation and decide whether or not to proceed with charges. Enteries are made at regular intervals (i.e. each evening).

    3. Observer Trip Report - purpose is to provide a concise reference to the irregularities. Entries are made throughout the trip and at trip end.

      Documentation Rules for the notebook will be addressed and explained. The contents of the documentation of an irregularity will also be discussed (Answering the questions who, what, where, why, and how, along with extraneous information such as weather/Personal information or opinions should not be recorded).

13. Observer Trip Report The most important document from the observer is the trip report and as such it should be as complete as possible. The following are some of the areas which Fisheries Administrators may wish to include in the requirements for their observers in their final trip reports.

Vessel InformationObserver Activity
Daily Trip SummaryComparison of Observer Estimates & Vessel's Fishing Log
Sampling InventoryVessel Sighting
Fishing PatternUnique Areas
Fishing OperationsLogbooks
DiscardsHold capacity
Trip Summary 

Please note that this is only one example of possible observer training scenarios and all modules are not essential, nor ideal to address the fisheries management situation in each case. Each Fisheries Administrator can pick and choose various modules appropriate to the country's fisheries and adapt them as required.

Annex F.

This annex is intended to provide examples of the elements included in existing report forms for consideration by Fisheries Administrators. It is recognized and suggested that the uniqueness of each MCS system will necessitate that each Fisheries Administrator will wish to design report forms to meet their State's requirements. It is for this reason that actual report forms from countries, which would soon be outdated, are not presented, but instead the core information to be included in these reports is suggested in lieu of the former.


The following information is common to collect for license applications. This is the first document which will set up the information database, consequently the information collected here is crucial for accuracy in identifying the vessel.

name of vessel,
country and port of registry,
registered number,
international radio call sign (for vessel marking and identification),
side number (if different from the radio call sign),
type and class of vessel (longliner/stern trawler, etc.),
length overall,
registered, net and gross tonnage,
engine type and power,
description of the vessel (construction material, year built, colours and profile,
sometimes a picture is requested),
fishing gear aboard,
communications equipment aboard and listening frequencies,
name and address of owner with fax number and telephone number,
name and address of vessel master,
name of the representative for the vessel in the country,
number of crew,
hold capacity and type (wet freezer),
processing equipment,
freezing equipment.

The application would also include the request for the fishing privilege in accordance with the State's requirements, the fishing plan.


a. Zone Entry and Exit

date/time of report,
vessel name,
vessel call sign,
vessel side number (if diferent from the call sign),
date of entry into/exit from the EEZ/fisheries waters,
position of entry,
weight of fish onboard by species and product form
intended area of fishing (This is after the first entry. First entry should result in a visit
to the regulatory port for a briefing.)

b. Port Entry/Exit

date/time of report,
vessel name,
vessel call sign,
vessel side number (if diferent from the call sign),
estimated time of arrival/departure (ETA/ETD) to port designated port

c. Area Change for Fishing

date/time of report,
vessel name,
vessel call sign,
vessel side number (if diferent from the call sign),
current position,
area for intended fishing
time of entry into area


These would be in a format and time frame as set by the coastal State.

date/time of report,
vessel name,
vessel call sign,
vessel side number (if diferent from the call sign),
current position,

Fishing report - most countries require the vessel master to provide data on the position at a standard time each day and a summary of catches for the period from the same time the previous day.

number of sets,
number of hooks/type of gear,
total fishing time that day,
catches by species,
total daily catch.

This report is sent to the fisheries authorities as required. Some countries require this each week and others, daily.


Logbooks pertaining to fishing operations are as varied as the number of countries and companies fishing. It is for this reason and for ease in computerized data entry that some countries issue their own logbooks for all vessels fishing in their waters. The information collected usually falls into three main categories, fishing, processing and transhipment.

a. Fishing

Fishing logs commonly require information similar to the catch and efort report, but in a more detailed fashion:

vessel name,
side number,
license number,
position at the set reporting time,
area being fished,
target species,
time commenced for each set or tow,
time of completion of each set or tow,
hours fished,
position at the start/end of each set or tow,
type of gear,
number of hooks/lines/nets,
depth of fishing where applicable,
catch by set or tow by species and weight/size,
round weight processed for human consumption,
round weight of fish reduced to meal,
cumulative totals,
surface sea temperature,
observations - sea, currents, weather, wind, temperature, etc.
activities other than fishing/remarks.

b. Processing

vessel name,
side number,
license number,
product form by species and weight, (frozen round, gutted, gutted head on, fillets, salted, pickled, canned, oil, etc.)
cumulative totals,

c. Transhipment

sending vessel name,
side number,
license number,
receiving vessel name,
side number,
license number,
position of transfer,
date and time of transfer commencement/completion,
product transferred by species, product form and weight,
cumulative totals,

This information can be cross checked against the catch and effort reports, observer reports, position reports and sightings to verify the accuracy of the reports. This information can be utilized for patrol planning as well as for the biological assessment of fish stocks. It is recognized that all information is not required for all fishers, but the majority of this information from large vessels can be of assistance to fisheries management and planning, including MCS operations.


These reports are fairly standard from both sea and air sightings. The main components include:

vessel name,
side number,
description of the vessel,
vessel type,
activity (course, speed, fishing, etc.), licensed/unlicensed


These are the reports which are used to collect additional data on the fishing operations of vessels and also for the verification of the reports sent by the vessel to the fisheries departments. These at-sea and in port inspections, when conducted carefully, will assist the Fisheries Administrator in confirming the vessel master's compliance with the country's fisheries laws. The following are the common generic components of fishing vessel inspection reports:

vessel name,
port of registry,
vessel type,
gross registered tonnage,
net registered tonnage,
fish processing capacity,
fish storage capacity,
fish processing equipment,
freezers/capacity/frozen storage,
side number,

license number,
validity for fishing/area/species/dates,
date and time of inspection commencement and departure from the vessel,
name and address of the master,
name and address of the owner,
name of the inspector,
name of vessel carrying the inspector,
position as determined by the vessel master,
position fixing equipment,
position as determined by the inspection vessel master,
position fixing equipment,
fishing gear on deck/type/material/attachments/net measurements/number of hooks etc.
number of crew,
estimate of fish caught since last inspection by species and weight/product form etc.,
estimate of fish on board,
transhipments of fish/to whom/species/weight/when/where,
fish processed since last inspection,
fish meal/oil produced,
summary of fishing from logs/species/area/weight/dates,
records inspected,
last port of call/dates,
next port of call/dates,
apparent infringements,
photographs taken,
comments from the inspector,
comments from the vessel master,
witness signatures/dates,
copy of report left with the vessel master.

Annex G.

Each fishery, or group of fisheries, that is being harvested should be done in such a manner as to ensure the conservation of the species. This is done through management of the resource. There are several tools for this purpose, some that concentrate on direct management and others that focus on indirect management of the resource through management of the harvesters for various reasons. Many countries mix-and-match the two in an effort to manage the resource. This, on occasion, can result in an intrusive government policy which may be perceived as very restrictive to the fishers. Each management plan should have an objective, principles or assumptions and a clear concise plan that is able to be implemented effectively at minimal cost. Above all, each management plan must have the acceptance of the fishers to whom it applies or it will be doomed to fail.

An example of a framework of a management plan for large pelagics follows:


Conservation and restoration of the fisheries resources for the economic benefit of the citizens of the country.


  1. Allocation of resources will be on the basis of the terms of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, that is to say, the national fishery will take priority and excess resources may be allocated to interested international fishing partners.

  2. The allocation of resources to the national fishing sector shall be based on the historic dependency and catches of the various fleet sectors considering also the mobility of each sector.

  3. The artisanal fleet sector shall receive priority access and area protection due to the lack of mobility of the sector and the dependency of the coast communities on the fisheries. In return, the community fishers will be expected to assist in the MCS activities in their areas.

  4. All mobile fishing gear fishers shall meet to agree on the division of the excess resources not required by the artisanal fishing sector, the latter defined as that sector which does not normally stay at sea more than one day due to the size of the vessel and fishing equipment. The division of the fishery resources between the mobile sectors shall be monitored through effort surveillance and results passed to the sector for their control purposes. The state shall close the fishery when the effort level for the fishery is expected to be reached. There will be no new entrants to the mobile fishery.

    Note: The principle here is that the fishing sector must police any division of the resource themselves and the State will concentrate on conservation of the total resource. This can be expected to create difficulties initially, but the State should remain focused on conservation of the total resource, not the parts. As always the exception to the rule as seen here is the coastal-fishery which becomes very vulnerable to larger mobile fishing gears.

  5. All vessels and fishing gear shall be inspected prior to the issuance of an annual license to each of the fishers and the vessel. Only authorized fishing gear can be carried on the vessel during fishing operations.

  6. Access by international fishing partners shall be subject to principles under the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The fisheries agreement and license fees shall take into consideration the value of the resource to be harvested, contribution to the scientific data bank for fisheries management, access to all records for the fishing vessels and their activities both inside the fishing zone and the adjacent high seas, access to final weigh outs of the final product form, historic compliance of the fleet with fisheries laws of the State, or other states both inside fishing zones and on the high seas, training and employment opportunities for nationals, financial contribution towards recovery of costs of conservation of the resources and contribution to the national economy.

  7. International fishing partners shall carry observers, for data collection and advice to the vessel master for their allocated fisheries under the conditions set by the state and reimburse the state for the costs of these individuals.

  8. Transhipment of fish for international partners shall be in one of the named ports for which the port authorities shall assist in facilitating the exercise in a timely and cost effective manner.

  9. The allocation of fish and the establishment of fishing fees shall be on effort in the fishing zone.

  10. The fishery may be closed, or extended, by the state at its prerogative.

Management Plan: (EXAMPLE ONLY - all names are fictitious)

Artisanal Fishery:

The coastal zone for artisanal fishers extends to 15 kilometres from the baselines around the coast and islands. No mobile fishing from vessels over 12 meters shall be authorized in this zone.

The coastal zones for artisanal fishers shall be divided into four areas, north, east south and west. The area definitions shall be between the following points:

North - from a true bearing of north from the church on Samuel's Head east to a bearing of 090 degrees true from the quay in Domingo Bay. Effort allocation - 20,000 days

East - from a true bearing of 090 degrees off the quay in Domingo Bay east and south to a true bearing of 180 degrees off the northern entrance to Hungry Tickle. Effort allocation - 42,000 days

South - from a true bearing of 180 degrees off the entrance to Hungry Tickle south and west to a bearing of 270 degrees true off Fishers Light. Effort allocation - 42,000 days

West - from the bearing noted off Fishers Light to the bearing of true north on Samuel's Head. Effort allocation - 32,000 days

The communities noted in the boundary descriptions have agreed to host the fish zone committees for fishers in each zone. A federal fisheries representative shall assist with these meetings on fisheries affairs. The committees have the authority to issue licenses and set fishing fees under general fisheries guidelines. Federal fisheries shall monitor fishing effort and advise the committees of the effort expended on a monthly basis until the full effort allocation has been utilized. Community elders are requested to assist in the data collection of effort expended and reporting of noncompliance with closed seasons.

Mobile Fishery:

The mobile fishery zone shall extend from 15 km from the baselines as noted in the attached chart (chart to be attached) to the edge of the EEZ.

The total effort for the large pelagic fishery for this zone is 200,000 days.

Representatives from the seven major fishing communities involved in this fishery have agreed that the shares for the fleets from each community shall be pooled together and monitored as one fishery for the 900 vessels.

Fishing shall be permitted all year.

Vessels shall be authorized to carry and use only the fishing gear for which they have been licensed.

Federal representatives will report monthly effort figures to the representatives of each of the major fishing communities for this sector and advise fishers when the allocation is nearing depletion.

International Fishing Partners:

The total fishing effort allocation for the international partners is 20,000 days.

Currently only the vessels from “Partner's Country” has reached an agreement on fishing in the zone. The allocation for this fleet of 20 vessels is 3,000 days.

This privilege has been granted on the basis of licensing and fishing fees totalling $4,000,000 U.S. Additional fees for observers for all vessels total $600,000 U.S. A further $2,000,000 U.S. has been granted for scientific research assistance in the country of which 35% is for national salaries. Each vessel shall carry four national fishers for on-job training in the offshore fishing fleet. The weigh outs of fish caught in the zone shall be forwarded within thirty days of landing.

Each fishing vessel shall enter the port of “Home Port” to pick up its license, observer and a meeting with fisheries officials. The vessel shall be inspected at that time and only fishing gear authorized in the license may be carried on board the vessel. The reporting requirements shall be contained in the fisheries guidelines provided to each master.

Vessels may only fish in a zone outside the artisanal zone shown on the chart provided.

No vessel shall set a fish aggregating device (FAD) within five nautical miles of the government set FADs. The location of the latter will be provided to each master in the fishing guidelines.

Vessel masters shall assist observers in the execution of their duties in accordance with the regulations. Vessel masters shall adhere to all directions provided by fisheries officers in the execution of their duties and the full assistance of the vessel master and crew is expected.

This may perhaps be an over-simplification of the process, especially when mixed species fisheries may be carried out in the same zone, but it is provided as an example of a possible scenario. Where mixed fisheries occur, the effort control can be averaged for the fisheries and allocated accordingly with a measure of caution inserted on the side of conservation. The back up is the fact that actual landing figures can be obtained for the artisanal fishery and the national mobile fishery while observer coverage can assist in the international figures. If there is a concentrated effort towards one of the species due to its economic value, the fishery can be closed. These options can be discussed fully during negotiations and talks with the fishers and international partners. The mixed fisheries should be established on the basis that conservation is still the priority of the government and should be the priority for the fishers as well. The final control of the fishery remains in the hands of the government and it should always be exercised on the basis on conservation.

Annex H.

This annex is compiled mainly of pertinent excerpts from the prosecution manual for the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency. In reviewing the various initiatives for common law countries on the subject, the FFA manual appeared to be the most advanced and comprehensive and key sections are hereby presented (in total) for information and reference. The manual was funded by the International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and written by Mr. R. Coventry.

The present annex has been included in this paper as it is seen as being of considerable practical importance. However, a number of important qualifications have to be made regarding its inclusion in the present publication. First, the points made concerning prosecutions in this annex are made very much against a common law background. Many of these points would arise in very different circumstances in civil law systems. In fact, a very different approach to that contained in this annex would be necessary in order to do justice to the issues that might arise in a civil law system in respect of a prosecution in such a system.1

Second, even within the context of the common law, the present document reflects concerns of prosecutors in Australia and certain Pacific Island States, which are to some extent influenced by local practices, particular provisions of the law of evidence not necessarily applying in other jurisdictions, possible restraints flowing from the constitution, and the relevance of particular judicial decisions.

Third, the special focus of the present annex being on prosecutions, it should be stressed that other factors might need to be considered, namely, whether there are other avenues to pursue in individual instances, such as compounding or administrative penalties, or even whether in some situations, diplomatic negotiations would be prefereble.

Accordingly, the present annex is included here with an important caution that, despite its intrinsic value in alerting Fisheries Administrators to a number of matters relevant to prosecutions against fishers, it has to be used with care in those parts of teh world for which it was not designed. Furthermore, the practices on such matters are apt to evolve within individual jurisdictions, and these merit constant evaluation.

1 It was beyond the competence of the author to expound on case scenarios in this latter situation, consequently, the development of guidelines for civil law countries for fisheries will, of necessity, be the subject of further consideration and future revisions to this publication.


This section is divided into two parts:

Part I General Preparation

Part II Pre-Trial Checklist

Careful and detailed preparation of the case is essential.



It is for the prosecutor

1. Witnesses

The original copies of all witness statements, in the correct form and signed, will be needed.

All the statements must be read, and the following checked:

  1. Do they prove the charges that have been/will be laid?

  2. Do they rebut any defence raised in conversation with the defendants or formal interviews, (e.g. the master alleges engine breakdown - witness statement from engineer to disprove this)?

  3. Do they contain inadmissible or unfairly prejudicial statements, (e.g. hearsay, references to criminal matters not charged)?

  4. Does the witness refer to the exhibits he is producing?

  5. Is an additional statement required from the witness to clarify anything or add anything useful?

  6. Do they aver the reasonable suspicion, reasonable belief or other basis which must exist before the witness can act, (e.g. for boarding/apprehending/hot pursuit)?

  7. If statutory presumptions are to be utilised, do the statements lay the requisite foundation of fact, (e.g. some Fisheries Acts provide that if an officer suspects any fish to which the charge relates were taken in a particular area of waters and he gives evidence of the grounds on which he so suspects and the court thinks the suspicion reasonable then in the absence of proof to the contrary the fish will be deemed to have been so taken).

Every fishing case will be different and, of necessity, the evidence will vary from case to case. Only experience and background reading will fully equip an advocate to appreciate all the evidence that can be utilised in a fisheries case.

2. Useful Observations

Here is a list of the kinds of observations which might be used as evidence of recent fishing.

  1. On Sighting Vessel

    1. Hasty departure - sudden increase in speed, clouds of engine exhaust, bow wave, anchor being quickly hauled in.

    2. In the water - dead fish, offal, seabirds picking at objects, muddy water drawn up from bottom (shallow water), sharks taking rubbish.

    3. Gear - buoys, flags nearby, wires, ropes dangling over side, small boats at reef, by vessel, being hauled in, divers.

  2. On Boarding Vessel

    1. Bloody water and offal running from scuppers.

    2. Noise of engine being started, [may or may not be pertinent depending on the fishery].

    3. Crew - hastily stowing gear, bringing in anchor, pushing objects out of sight, generally agitated, wet or look as though been diving, fresh cuts and scratches.

    4. Decks - wet running blood, offal.

    5. Gear - wet, and/or not stored/secured, wires still attached to gear, winches not disconnected, diving gear lying about or in small boats.

    6. Fish - fresh, lying about deck or elsewhere.

  3. On Inspection of Vessel

    1. Wheelhouse - entries in logs, marks on charts, dummy logs, charts. Instruments working? Radar setting, satnav reading, echo sounder etc.

    2. Freezers - fresh, half frozen fish, colour of eye, gill. Temperature temporarily higher than usual, temperature records showing rises and falls, machinery working, no signs of breakdown/repairs.

    3. Engine room - main/auxiliary engine.- hot or cold. Test-run, no signs of malfunction or recent repair. Refrigeration machinery working. Engine temperatures, log variations.

  4. On Passage and Entry to Port

    1. Engine functioned well on passage to port.

    2. Freezers operated normally.

    3. Master had no difficulty in navigating and instruments worked.

    4. Gear tidied up by crew on passage (c.f. photograph of state of gear when first boarded).

3. Exhibits

Ensure that all exhibits have in fact been collected. (It is very embarrassing to ask a court for an adjournment so an exhibit can be found).

The exhibits must be clearly labelled and protected and preserved in the most appropriate manner.

Examine the exhibits. Extra evidence can often be found, e.g.:-

Chartsrubbed out lines at area in question; EEZ, and closed areas faintly marked on;
Freezer Logsfluctuations of freezer temperatures at times of alleged fishing;
Logstwelve hourly positions not consistent with master's version of events; distances allegedly run impossible in time stated; is log a dummy? are entries consistent with other logs and charts? and
Photographsshow different stowage of gear on boarding from when vessel arrived at port.

Some exhibits require special care or procedures, e.g.:-

Photographsthe person who took them must produce them; has he retained the un-retouched negatives?
Fishdo they need to be kept as exhibits; can they be kept as exhibits? note any statutory power to sell and retain proceeds of sale, or dispose of if unsaleable.
Vessel itselfhas it been immobilised; is there a power to immobolize? what is the emergency procedure for e.g. heavy storm, cyclone?
Radio Buoysthese can be damaged if dropped or knocked; they are expensive.

When exhibits are returned to defendants after a case they often claim that some articles have been damaged or deteriorated while in possession of the authorities. Care must be taken to ensure this does not happen and that false claims won't succeed. If a vessel is detained regular checks must be made, particularly of the freezers, freezing machinery, fish, engines and gear. Records must be kept of these checks.

4. Certificates

Many fisheries acts provide for proof of certain facts by certificate. These provisions should be used to the full:-


  1. what facts can be proved by certificate;

  2. who issues the certificate;

  3. the form it should take; and

  4. its evidential value (conclusive proof, rebuttable presumption).

5. Machine Evidence

When reading the witness statements a note should be made of any evidence which relies upon scientific instruments, (e.g. readings of a satellite navigation machine, radar).

There is a common law presumption that the readings of notorious scientific instruments are accurate. An instrument will fall into this class if by general experience it is known to be trustworthy and so notorious that no evidence is required to prove it is trustworthy.

If a scientific instrument is “notoriously reliable”, then readings from it can be given in evidence once it has been established that it was operating properly and the witness was a competent operator. However, the law is slow to recognize new instruments. For example, radar readings will be admissible whereas those of a satellite navigation machine will probably not be. The readings of an instrument which is not recognised as being “notoriously reliable” can still be made admissible if:

  1. the whole system is proved by expert witnesses (a long and expensive process); or

  2. the instrument was cross-checked against accepted instruments and found to be working properly and accurately.

Therefore, if a scientific instrument has been used, check:-

  1. is the evidence needed?

  2. is the instrument recognised by the court as “notoriously reliable”?

  3. if not, was it cross-checked with instruments that are so recognised, before and after the material events? and

  4. was the witness a competent operator?

It is also important to ascertain the maximum possible error of the instrument when functioning properly, (a satellite navigation machine will be accurate to a fairly high degree immediately after a satellite pass, but becomes progressively less accurate as it “dead reckons” positions until the next pass).

If the readings of an instrument are to be used in evidence then the prosecutor should go and see one and acquaint himself with its workings before the trial commences.

The most effective way of avoiding these problems is to have a statutory provision deeming the readings of instruments prescribed by the Minister admissible and prima facie proof of the facts averred.

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