This document is an informal compilation of the proposals submitted as part of the written contributions of experts for possible inclusion in the International Plan of Action on IUU fishing organized by the Government of Australia in cooperation with FAO. Its purpose is merely to provide a basis for discussion at the present Consultation.
A suggestion received was that the IPOAs for the Management of Fishing Capacity, for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries, and for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, could be used as a basic structure to be followed. Accordingly, there has been included in italics at the beginning and the end of this document some text which is derived from the introductory and final clauses of those instruments. This is intended to give a preliminary indication of a possible outline of the IUU IPOA if this suggestion is taken up by the Consultation. These italicized clauses may need to be revised by FAO to take into account the outcomes of the Expert Consultation as preparation for the FAO Technical Consultation planned for 3 to 6 October 2000 in Rome.
Several footnotes applied in the text provide alternative text
1. In the context of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its overall objective of sustainable fisheries, the issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in world fisheries is of increasing concern. This is because IUU fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in all capture fisheries. When confronted with IUU fishing, national and regional fisheries management organizations fail to achieve management goals. This situation leads to the loss of both short- and long-term social and economic opportunities. In extreme cases, IUU fishing can lead to the collapse of a fishery or seriously impair efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted.
2. The Code of Conduct encourages States to take measures to facilitate long-term sustainable fisheries. Such measures include, inter alia, those to combat IUU fishing. Regional fisheries management organizations are also encouraged to initiate, or continue, their efforts to combat IUU fishing within their respective areas of competence. The Conference on the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance in Santiago, Chile, from 25 to 26 January 2000 recommended, inter alia, urgent action designed to solve the problem of IUU fishing, and urged all States to support and take part in the FAO initiative on this subject.
3. The Twenty-third Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in February 1999 addressed the need to combat IUU fishing. COFI also requested that the issue of fishing vessels from 'open registries be assessed in terms of their contribution to IUU fishing. Shortly afterwards, an FAO Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries in March 1999 requested that, without prejudice to the rights and obligations of States under international law, FAO proceed with the elaboration of an international plan of action (IPOA) to deal effectively with all forms of IUU fishing including fishing vessels from open registries. The Government of Australia in cooperation with FAO organized an Expert Consultation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in Sydney, Australia, from 15 to 19 May 2000. Subsequently, an FAO Technical Consultation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing was held in Rome from 3 to 6 October 2000.
PART I - NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE INTERNATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION
4. The IPOA is voluntary. It has been elaborated within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as envisaged by Article 2 (d).
5. The provisions of Article 1, paragraph 2 and Article 3 of the Code of Conduct apply to the interpretation and application of this IPOA and its relationship with other international instruments.
6. In this document:
(1) the reference to States includes the European Community in matters within its competence;7. This document is a further commitment by all States to implement the Code of Conduct.
(2) the term regional includes sub-regional, as appropriate;
(3) the term regional fisheries management organization includes an arrangement, as appropriate.
8. The IPOA constitutes an element of fishery conservation and sustainable management.
PART II - OBJECTIVE AND PRINCIPLES
9. The immediate objective of the IPOA is for States and regional fisheries management organizations to achieve, world-wide, preferably by 2003, but not later than 2006, a comprehensive, effective and transparent process to combat and prevent IUU fishing. Inter alia, States and regional fisheries management organizations confronted with IUU fishing should endeavour initially to limit the extent and impact of IUU fishing and then to eliminate such fishing in all capture fisheries so as to achieve long-term sustainability outcomes.
10. The above objective may be achieved through a series of immediate and longer-term action related to the following major strategies. These strategies are to:
11. The IPOA to combat IUU fishing should be based on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and take into consideration the following major principles and approaches:
12. The implementation of the IPOA should be based on the Code of Conduct, particularly Article 5, in relation to enhancing the ability of developing countries, to develop their own fisheries as well as to participate in high seas fisheries, including access to such fisheries.
PART III - ACTIONS REQUIRED TO COMBAT IUU FISHING
13. To ensure a coherent approach and maximum scope of action by national fisheries administrations and regional fisheries management organizations, as well as at the international level, it is recognised that the ambit of IUU fishing, applicable to members and non-members of regional fisheries management organizations includes:
Section I: Immediate Action
National Action and Legislation
14. States should review their national fisheries legislative framework and the regulatory framework for regional fisheries management organizations to ascertain whether the frameworks effectively combat IUU fishing, and in particular:
15. States should proactively cooperate in closing existing gaps in governance over IUU fishing by taking harmonised steps at national level to strengthen their institutional, legal and policy bases, and to strengthen the relevant regional fisheries management organizations, including delegating more decision making and enforcement authority, as appropriate, to regional fisheries management organizations, and reviewing and strengthening the process and information systems over, inter alia, port State responsibilities and trade information.
16. States should consider the introduction, where necessary, of legal measures that would enable them to exercise jurisdiction over fishing vessels having a constructive presence in the exclusive economic zone, that is to say, where a fishing vessel, although located outside the EEZ, has fishing vessels dependent on it and operating under its direction within the EEZ.
17. States should give consideration, by agreement between the relevant flag states concerned, to permitting the boarding and inspection of their fishing vessels in those areas of the high seas not already covered by the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, subject to the safeguards set out in the 1982 Convention and in the UN Fish Stocks Agreement.
18. States that are members of regional fisheries management organizations should, on an immediate basis, ensure that complete, accurate and timely reports are submitted to regional fisheries management organizations, as required, for the implementation of measures adopted by these organizations to combat IUU fishing.
19. States should review fisheries and related legislation to ensure that there are appropriate national measures to control the operations of their flag vessels on the high seas. States should also review related legislation to ensure that it is adequate to support national plans to combat IUU fishing.
20. States should develop measures to combat IUU fishing based on the exercise of their powers of jurisdiction based on nationality, in particular by enacting laws which punish their nationals for taking part in IUU fishing operations, even if on board the vessels of other States.
21. States should ensure, as a priority, that sanctions against IUU fishing, as agreed by at national level or by a regional fisheries management organization, are implemented to the fullest extent possible at national level, and that effective cooperation takes place to promote full implementation on a regional or international basis.
22. Considering that the roles of non-contracting parties to regional fisheries management organizations are expanding due to non-contracting party obligations under recently concluded international fisheries instruments, and as appropriate, the constitutive instruments of regional fisheries management organizations, non-contracting parties should, as a priority, cooperate with regional fisheries management organizations by joining, attending, observing, reporting, and adopting, or provisionally applying, the measures agreed in relevant organizations.
23. States should urge their importers, transshippers, consumers and equipment suppliers voluntarily to forego doing business with the vessels identified on (list of vessels prepared by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)................).
International Fisheries Instruments
24. States should accept and implement the FAO Compliance Agreement and to ratify and implement the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, with a view to bringing these instruments into force as soon as possible.
25. States should take steps to further implement the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the International Plans of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries, the Conservation and Management of Sharks and the Management of Fishing Capacity.
26. With respect to the IPOA for the Management of Fishing Capacity, which has particular relevance to combating IUU fishing, States should, inter alia:
Coastal State Measures
27. States should make it known to fishing vessels permitted to fish in waters under their jurisdiction by means of the authorization to fish, the measures it has taken to delineate the position and extent of its fishing zones as well as the penalties it has set for non-compliance. Fishing vessels in transit should be provided with the same information through appropriate channels.
28. In the event that a fishing vessel is authorized to fish in waters of another State, the flag State should inform the other State of the conditions it has set for the good conduct of fishing vessel operations by its vessel and those in charge of the vessel. The coastal State should not give more favourable treatment to the foreign flag vessel that it would give to its own flag fishing vessels and may, therefore, set more stringent conditions than the flag State.
29. States should maintain records of foreign flag fishing vessels authorized by them to fish in waters under their jurisdiction.
Flag State Responsibility
30. States should take measures to ensure that all vessels entitled to fly their flags are authorized to fish and that such vessels comply fully with national laws and regulations of regional fisheries management organizations. Moreover, States should ensure that their vessels do not engage in activities that undermine the conservation and management efforts of regional fisheries management organizations.
31. States should not allow a fishing vessel to fish unless it has been issued with, and carries on board, a valid authorization to fish. The conditions to be set in relation to that authorization to fish should include, but need not be limited to the following:
32. States should set conditions to be met by the owners and those in charge of a fishing vessel. States should also set penalties and or sanctions in relation to non-compliance with the conditions of the authorization to fish that may include withdrawal of the authorization and closure of the register, depending upon the severity of the non-compliance.
33. States should assess all applications for the allocation of its flag on the intended area of operation of the applicant and shall not give entitlement to fly its flag unless the flag State is satisfied that it can exercise effective control over the vessel throughout the intended area of operations. The allocation of the flag should be concomitant with the allocation of an authorization to fish by the flag State in waters under the jurisdiction of that State, on the high seas and or an authorization to fish issued by a coastal State at the request of the flag State.
34. An application for the allocation of a flag in relation to a bareboat charter should be considered by the State to be a registration de novo and should require the vessels underlying registration to be cancelled if only for the period of the charter. The flagging in State, as a minimum, should require the authority responsible for the foreign register to provide details of the legal owners, mortgages, liens and other encumbrances.
35. States should not allow the sub-demise of a bareboat chartered fishing vessel.
36. States should require a vessel owner to obtain government approval before the vessel is reflagged in any other flag. This is necessary to ensure that the vessel is not reflagged in a State that does not ensure compliance with the conservation measures of fisheries organizations.
37. States with jurisdiction over the individuals or companies exercising ultimate ownership control over vessels from open registries engaged in IUU fishing should exercise control over the vessel, even if the vessel operates under another flag. States where the actual owners are to be found should act to ensure the vessels are scrapped, or at least that they are registered in a State which ensures that they will not operate in a way inconsistent with the applicable fishery conservation regimes.
Port State Measures
38. States should develop within regional fisheries management organizations, comprehensive systems for port State control of fishing vessels flying the flag of members of the respective organizations.
39. States should take, through procedures established in their national legislation, in accordance with international law, including applicable international agreements or arrangements, such measures as are necessary to achieve and to assist other States in achieving compliance with conservation and management measures adopted by regional fisheries management organizations and or with internationally agreed minimum standards for the prevention of pollution and for safety, health and conditions of work on board fishing vessels.
40. States should develop within regional fisheries management organizations schemes building on the presumption that fishing vessels flying the flag of non-contracting parties of such organizations sighted in the area of that particular organization are undermining the effectiveness of the organizations conservation, management and enforcement measures and prohibit landings and transhipments of catch in the ports of parties unless the vessel can establish that the catch was taken in a manner consistent with those measures.
41. States should require mandatory inspection in port of all fishing vessels flying the flag of a State which is not a member of the relevant regional fisheries management organization and report on the findings of such inspections to the organization which will further provide that information to all parties and to other relevant regional fisheries management organizations.
42. States should establish a harmonized system for the inspection of a foreign flag fishing vessel when it is voluntarily in a port or at an offshore structure of a port State that may be applied regionally or globally. The harmonized system should make provisions for:
43. States should enhance cooperation, including the flow of relevant information, between relevant regional fisheries management organizations on port State control.
44. States should request FAO to:
45. States should establish a 'pilot project' on a regional MOU on port State control involving two or more regional fisheries management organizations, including relevant port States that are not members of those organizations in order to develop a system that may serve as a model for other regions.
Monitoring, Control and Surveillance
46. States should cooperate in the conduct of MCS operations and the exchange of information to improve their effectiveness, including through the mandatory installation of VMS systems in ways that reflect the management needs and objectives for a region or fishery and through the further elaboration of VMS data standards and information exchange protocols.
47. States should establish and agree on the minimum acceptable performance standards for equipment and systems that do not conflict with performance standards agreed by regional fisheries management organizations for:
48. States should consider introducing provisions in national legislation or agree at the regional or subregional level, as appropriate, on the rights and responsibilities of vessel operators and boarding and inspection officers, in particular, the rights and responsibilities relating to boarding and inspection on the high seas that are carried out by officers of the members of a regional or sub-regional management organisation or arrangement of vessels which do not belong to a member of that regional or sub-regional organisation or arrangement and the vessel is not entitled to fly the flag of any of the members of that organisation or arrangement.
Data and Information Considerations
49. States should declare their commitment to:
50. States should register and exchange fishing vessel information, on the basis of agreed international data exchange formats and communications protocols.
Regional Fisheries Management Organizations
51. States have important roles to play in regional fisheries management organizations, whether or not they are contracting parties or members of the organizations, coastal States or flag States. States should therefore, as a priority, adopt, or at least provisionally implement and ensure compliance with:
52. Regional fisheries management organizations should cooperate on an urgent basis to proactively develop new policies and measures as appropriate to counter IUU fishing and prioritise the implementation of measures in support of such policies. A comprehensive framework for new measures should be developed by FAO in consultation with regional fisheries management organizations to facilitate coordinated action, and should include elements to strengthen the mandate of these organizations over IUU fishing, including determination of whether fishing is illegal, independent inspection and capacity to determine and proceed against violations.
53. Cooperation among regional fisheries management organizations in the development, coordination and implementation of policies and measures, as well as internal review and strengthening, is essential to developing a proactive strategy to close existing gaps in combating IUU fishing. Action plans among regional fisheries management organizations should be agreed to regularise or institutionalise such cooperation. To this end, these organizations should regularise meetings with other like-minded regional fisheries management organizations, agree on information provision and systems and take an active part in planning and participating in the meetings of FAO and non-FAO regional fisheries management organizations.
54. In the context of internal institutional strengthening and policy development, as well as taking coordinated action with national fisheries administrations and regional fisheries management organizations, account should be taken of, and the effectiveness evaluated of, existing regional and international policies and measures in relation to IUU fishing. In particular, this assessment should embrace the following areas, recognising that existing measures have been taken in response to specific compelling situations, and that there is an urgent need for a proactive, coherent and coordinated approach:
55. Objectives of institutional and policy strengthening in relation to IUU fishing should include enabling regional fisheries management organizations to:
56. States that are members of regional fisheries management organizations should ensure that any of their own vessels on the (ICCAT list.............) comply fully with any conservation and management measures adopted by that organization. When a State fails to sufficiently oversee the activities of its own fishing vessels, the regional fisheries management organization should draw the problem to the attention of the government. If the activities of the fishing vessels do not change, the other members of the regional fisheries management organization should adopt, upon the recommendation of the organization, non-discriminatory trade restrictions consistent with the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This should include action banning the import of the fish caught by vessels registered with the member State, and denying port entry to the State's fishing vessels.
57. The vessels of States that do not belong to a regional fisheries management organization should only operate in that fishery if it is consistent with the conservation measures of the organization. As a practical matter, whenever the fisheries organization has adopted catch restrictions, vessels on (ICCAT's list..............) from non-member States are unlikely to be able to fish in a way that does not diminish the effectiveness of the organization's conservation measures.
58. When the vessels on (ICCAT's list............) are registered in non-member States, and their practices diminish the effectiveness of a regional fisheries management organization's conservation and management measures, member States should take appropriate action upon the recommendation of the organization. If the government of the non-member State fails to respond to requests from the regional fisheries management organization to exercise greater control over its flag vessels, action should include non-discriminatory trade measures such as an import ban on the fish caught by vessels from open registries engaged in IUU fishing, and a prohibition on port calls.
Section II: Action Required Before 2006
National Action and Legislation
59. States should seek to improve the legal basis for combating IUU fishing within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) by including new or updated provisions in national legislation concerning:
60. States should adopt long-arm enforcement measures such as (Lacey Act) provisions which makes it a violation for any person who lands, imports, exports, transports, sells, receives, acquires or purchases; or causes or permits a person acting on his behalf, or uses a fishing vessel, to land, import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase, any fish taken, possessed, transported or sold contrary to the law of another State, internationally agreed conservation or management measure, shall commit a violation which is punishable by severe penalties.
61. States should implement regional harmonisation programmes for national fisheries legislation.
62. States should enact relevant and effective domestic legislation to give effect to port State control obligations to combat all aspects of IUU fishing.
International Fisheries Instruments
63. States should consider the preparation and implementation of a supplementary agreement to the FAO Compliance Agreement which could provide for the exchange of information about persistent IUU fishing offenders, preferably secured by means of an agreement that would enable such information to be linked to the database that FAO maintains in respect of the FAO Compliance Agreement.
Coastal State Measures
64. States should ensure that waters under their jurisdiction are clearly marked on charts for identification by seafarers. The charts should also identify protected sensitive areas, where fishing is prohibited and zones exclusive to artisanal fishers and or types of fishing gear. Provision should be made by coastal States for the location of the limits of these areas and zones to be recognized by all users of the seas and should require fishing vessels to carry appropriate outfit and equipment for the identification of such navigational aids.
Flag State Responsibility
65. States and regional fisheries management organizations should develop and maintain appropriate and compatible national and regional records of fishing vessels authorized to fish. For high seas fisheries these records should be compatible with requirements of the FAO Compliance Agreement.
66. States should establish and maintain records of fishing vessels that contain details of a vessel, its legal and to the extent possible, its beneficial ownership and authorization to fish. Furthermore, the flag State should maintain a parallel record of infringements by a vessel and the penalties and or sanctions applied. The information should be readily available to relevant regional bodies, the appropriate international organization and other State on request.
Port State Measures
67. States should enhance national compliance with the principles on port State control in the FAO Compliance Agreement and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement by implementing their principles through enacting domestic legislation, supported by adequate penalties if fishing vessels are found to have breached internationally agreed conservation and management measures.
68. States should agree on internationally accepted sanctions which port States should put into effect when fishing vessels do not comply with conservation and management measures.
69. States should establish a global strategy for port State control and procedures for such control, including training, qualification requirements and general operating guidelines for port State control officers.
Monitoring, Control and Surveillance
70. States should make satellite based vessel monitoring systems a requirement for fishing vessels authorized to fish on the high seas and or in waters of States other than the flag State.
71. States should develop and implement regional joint enforcement arrangements.
Data and Information Considerations
72. States should generate improved flag State and port State landings information through the compulsory inspection of all fish landings by all flags at their ports to establish provenance and custody.
73. States should develop agreed frameworks for the conduct of observer programmes, including in national, regional and high seas fisheries.
74. States should cooperate, including through FAO and regional fisheries management organizations, in developing analytical and statistical methods for determining the nature and extent of under-reporting and mis-reporting of fishery data and in reviewing methods for monitoring the nature and extent of IUU fishing.
Regional Fisheries Management Organizations
75. States should establishment regional registers of fishing vessels along the lines of the existing regional registers and which can be used for compliance purposes.
76. While reform is being carried out by national fisheries administrations and RFBs to combat IUU fishing, they should proceed on a priority basis to implement existing policies and measures against IUU fishing, including the adoption, and encouragement of other RFB members and non-members to adopt, provisional measures to implement applicable international instruments, as well as measures relating to: registers/data/information relating to IUU fishing; inspection and enforcement; VMS, presumptions, landings, port inspection and transhipments, trade measures; cooperation with non-contracting parties; fleet capacity, and resolutions calling for action against IUU fishing.
77. Noting that FAO regional fisheries management organizations have recently carried out internal reviews and reform, it is acknowledged that there has been no such collective systematic approach among regional fisheries management organizations as a whole. Taking into account the need for such approach, and the movement towards development of performance indicators for use by regional fisheries management organizations as a basis for internal review and strengthening, these organizations should, as part of such review or as a preliminary review carried out on an immediate basis, focus on the institutional strengthening needed to deal with IUU fishing and implementation of an IPOA on IUU fishing. The general institutional aspects which would need to be included in such a review concerning IUU fishing should include the following: mandate and functions; institutional and capacity building measures; decision making powers and procedures; budget and finance; procedures and requirements for data and information collection, analysis and dissemination; enforcement mechanisms, membership, and dispute settlement mechanisms.
Section III: Preparation and Implementation of National Plans
Development of National Plans and Policies
78. States should develop, implement and monitor national plans of action to combat IUU fishing. These plans should also serve to implement regional initiatives adopted by regional fisheries management organizations to combat IUU fishing.
79. States should, as action plans are being developed which identify and prioritise essential roles of national fisheries administrations, cooperate in taking immediate action to strengthen their roles relating to, inter alia, information and data provision, flag State control, enforcement, acceptance of international instruments and political will.
80. To avoid the consequences of unchecked IUU fishing, States should cooperate with each other and relevant regional fisheries management organizations in developing action plans which identify and prioritise the essential roles of national fishery administrations, and in implementing the action plan on an urgent basis. The consequences of a State's failure to fulfil its role should be included in such an action plan.
81. States should develop the means to monitor the incidence of IUU fishing in a systematic and accurate manner, and to regularly assess the impact of such fishing on fishery resources and management.
82. States should develop, adopt and make public, by the end of 2003, national plans to combat IUU fishing. These plans should...........................................
83. When it has been found that a national plan to combat IUU fishing is no longer necessary, States should ensure that IUU fishing is addressed in an ongoing manner in fishery management.
84. At least every four years, States should review the implementation of their national plans to combat IUU fishing for the purpose of identifying cost-effective strategies to increase effectiveness.
85. States should develop harmonised minimum terms and conditions of fisheries access by foreign fishing vessels (MTCs) at the national and regional levels and ensure that such MTCs are effectively implemented including through enforcement at the national and regional levels, as appropriate.
86. States should develop or strengthen regional agreements or regulatory frameworks that give effect to the 1982 Convention, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the FAO Compliance Agreement and the Code of Conduct and enforce such regional agreements or regulatory framework, as appropriate.
87. States should cooperate, where appropriate, through regional fisheries management organizations and other forms of cooperation, with a view to ensuring the effective management of fishing capacity.
88. States should strive to collaborate through FAO and through international arrangements in research, training and the production of information and educational material aiming to promote effective management of fishing capacity.
PART IV - MECHANISMS TO PROMOTE IMPLEMENTATION
89. States and regional fisheries management organizations, as appropriate, should develop information programmes at national, regional and global levels to increase awareness about the need to combat IUU fishing and the benefits that might be anticipated from reductions in IUU fishing.
90. States and regional fisheries management organizations should support the exchange of information on IUU fishing and promote its worldwide availability using existing regional and global fora.
91. States should cooperate in monitoring the activities of vessels from open registries engaged in IUU fishing, and provide other States information about the vessels, including their names, countries of registration, and fishing areas. It is essential that a wide array of countries cooperate in this monitoring activity because the vessels from open registries engaged in IUU fishing may change their registration or fishing activities frequently.
92. States should cooperate to support training and institutional strengthening and consider providing financial, technical and other assistance to developing States so that they can more fully meet their obligations under this IPOA. To this end States should cooperate to establish a trust fund to assist developing States.
93. States and regional fisheries management organizations should report to FAO on progress with the elaboration and implementation of their plans to combat IUU fishing as part of their biennial reporting to FAO on the Code of Conduct.
Role of FAO
94. FAO will, as and to the extent directed by its Conference, collect all relevant information and data that might serve as a basis for further analysis aimed at identifying factors and causes contributing to IUU fishing such as, inter alia, a lack of input and output management controls, unsustainable fishery management methods and subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing.
95. States should cooperate through FAO and regional fisheries management organizations in establishing and implementing international standards and practices for the collection and maintenance of fishery data, and the development of agreed formats and procedures, including (i) fisheries statistical standards and classifications; (ii) data content and precision, and methods for agreeing and prioritising them, and (iii) procedures for information security and access, including practical definitions of applicable confidentiality to ensure effective fisheries management.
96. FAO will, as and to the extent directed by its Conference, and as part of its Regular Programme activities, support States and regional fisheries management organizations, as appropriate, in the implementation of their national plans for the management of fishing capacity.
97. FAO will, as directed by its Conference, support development and implementation of national and regional plans to combat IUU fishing through specific, in-country technical assistance projects with Regular Programme funds and through the use of extra-budgetary funds made available to the Organization for this purpose.
98. FAO will, through COFI, report biennially on the state of progress in the implementation of the IPOA.