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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 comprises 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 the latest authorities under which 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.

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.

A reasonable place to include the authorities and powers vested in fisheries officers is immediately after the introduction section. 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. An example of the South Pacific Forum Fisheries identification card follows:

FFA Identification Card

NAFO Vessel Flag

NAFO 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 alongside 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 surveyed, 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, markings 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 UNCLOS, 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 responses and 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, the possible contents of an operational 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.

1982 UN Convention - 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


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 licence
Vessel licence
Vessel movement reports
Vessel inspection reports
Seizure reports/receipts/evidence tags

Fishing log interpretations for fishing, processing, freezing, transshipment and storage

Witness statements
Certificates, where these are appropriate
Data collection reports - biological, social and economic
Patrol reports
Port State Controls and Contacts

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