(Agenda item 12; Documents CWP-20/Inf.4 and Inf.5 and CWP-20/FAO)
66. The meeting recognized that the current trend with regard to vessel identifiers is toward a global inventory of high seas fishing vessels, in particular for the purpose of monitoring fishing capacity. FAO presented this issue as addressed in the three key documents noted above, which outlined FIGIS progress, Topic Trees and Work Flow Scenarios.
67. IOTC reported that so far 6,200 vessels are recorded in the IOTC Vessel Record database. The reporting standards of domestic and foreign vessels operating within the IOTC Area issue from IOTC Resolutions 98/04, 01/02, concerning the reporting of vessels operating in the IOTC Area in the year prior to that of the reporting, and Resolutions 02/05 and 02/06, concerning the reporting of domestic and foreign vessels licensed to operate in the IOTC Area in the year of reporting. Several vessel identifiers, vessel dimensions and details on the activity of each vessel are recorded in the database. The completeness of reporting is uneven; better for countries reporting on domestic fleets than for those reporting on foreign vessels. A dedicated database is used to validate and verify all new vessel records submitted by countries.
68. CWP was informed that the FIGIS work programme could include fishing vessel information on two registers, i.e. those that are authorized and those that are not. Recognising that the HSVAR directory reflects the requirements of the FAO Compliance Agreement, it was stated that the global directory of vessels fishing on the high seas would go beyond this requirement and would be restricted to selected users. It was further noted that many countries may need legislative undertakings to implement the FAO Compliance Agreement.
69. CWP recommended that a common format and similar graphic user interface for sharing and presenting vessel records be agreed and adopted. Such a goal could be achieved through setting up a common system to share, manage and present data. In that respect, CWP further recommended that the documents prepared by FAO be reviewed by interested parties, with feedback provided by May 2003, and that close collaboration between FAO and interested regional fishery bodies take place, regarding both system design and layout.
70. FAO noted that it is obliged to support the FAO Compliance Agreement which is an FAO instrument and will likely come into force soon with 25 signatories.