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5.1 Summary of objective and responses

The objective of Part 3 of the questionnaire was to seek information to assist in the assessment of common trends, problems, responses and effectiveness in RFB responses to and action against IUU fishing activities. RFBs were requested to provide brief summary points on the following:

A total of nine to eleven RFBs responded to each of the above categories.[252] Responses to this part of the questionnaire were generally wide-ranging. They reflect the diverse interests and objectives of the RFBs, and the complexities of dealing with IUU fishing. Some trends were indicated, but generally by an aggregation of only around three or four of the responding RFBs for each area. Because of the open-ended nature of the question, many areas of concern were named by only one RFB; this demonstrates the importance of the point to that RFB. However, considering the responses to the other parts of the questionnaire, most of the issues expressed in this part by one or more RFBs could be shared by a number of other organizations.

5.2 Major challenges in combating IUU fishing activities

The array of responses provided by nine RFBs indicating their major challenges in combating IUU fishing reflects the breadth of the existing issues.[253] Common concern was expressed by two or more RFBs about the lack of flag State control, MCS/inspections at sea, reporting, economic or trade disincentives and cooperation with other States, as described below.

Other challenges reported by RFBs relate to fisheries management, legal requirements, non-members of RFBs, awareness-raising, capacity and political will as shown below. Although each of these issues was identified by one RFB, the themes are more generally applicable as indicated by responses to other parts of the questionnaire.

A comparison of the challenges described and areas where RFBs are already engaged in significant activity as described in section 3.2.1, above is shown in Appendix 5, together with the main perceived causes of IUU fishing described in section 4.4, above. The most activity is concentrated around the challenges of flag State control and MCS, and relates to the main perceived causes of ineffective flag State control. Other challenges, related to causes such as profit-taking, may be addressed by lower levels of RFB activity not shown. The analysis and responses indicate that further actions are needed to address the challenges, such as legal reform, strengthened capacity and improved political will.

5.3 Effective measures/actions against IUU fishing activities

Examples of positive action were sought by requesting RFBs to state any effective measures/actions that have been taken against IUU fishing. Eleven RFBs responded to this question, representing the highest number of responses to this Part of the questionnaire.[271] However, of these, six RFBs explained why they could not respond to the question: one RFB, established relatively recently, reported that there have been no effective measures to control IUU fishing in its region,[272] one reported that the issue has just been addressed and described the agreed measures and procedures,[273] one noted that most measures are too recent for an evaluation of effectiveness,[274] one referred to its website[275] and two provided views on potentially effective measures.[276]

The remaining five RFBs, including three with a tuna mandate, cited a relatively wide range of effective measures relating to catch/trade documentation schemes, trade sanctions, port State control, MCS and compliance measures and cooperation with other organizations/non-contracting parties and diplomatic relations with regard to fishing by non-contracting parties. They are:

It is encouraging that the five RFBs described such a wide-ranging suite of measures as effective. It underlines the potential for broader application of such measures to combat IUU fishing.

5.4 Improved measures/actions needed against IUU fishing

Nine RFBs described improved measures or actions that are needed to combat IUU fishing activities.[290] They are diverse, and tend to reflect priorities for these RFBs more than general trends. However, they do reinforce other responses to the questionnaire. The areas described include public awareness, flag State control, port State control, general management and MCS measures, an action plan for non-cooperating States, market-based measures and improved RFMO coordination. They are detailed below.

A relatively high concentration of responses was directed at aspects of compliance, particularly MCS. Many of these would require action by, and sufficient capacity in, the member States.

5.5 Impact of measures/actions against IUU fishing

RFBs were asked to describe the impact of measures or actions they had taken against IUU fishing. Eight RFBs responded substantively,[304] and four of these indicated a positive impact resulting from measures or actions that have been taken against IUU fishing, as noted below. Only one RFB reported the elimination of IUU fishing, and the others reported a mitigation or localization of IUU fishing activities.

Two of the RFBs with a mandate over tuna did not describe the impact of measures against IUU fishing, in one case because they were adopted relatively recently and their impact has not yet been assessed.[305] Another expressed a related concern that might be shared by a number of RFBs - many decisions taken in the past have worked on an annual time scale, while the nature of IUU fishing vessels is very dynamic. This has diminished the potential impact of many measures.[306]

Looking to the future, one of the respondents predicted that less illegal fishing will occur as a result of improved measures.[307] Another RFB stated that while there was no impact of IUU measures as such, in some countries a higher catch of shrimp and trap fisheries, both in quantities and as CPUE, has occurred when effective measures of effort reduction and fishing grounds protection measures were introduced.[308]

In summary, relatively few RFB respondents reported positive impact resulting from measures or actions taken against IUU fishing activities. However, most of the same respondents reported having taken effective measures against IUU fishing, in section 5.3, above.[309]

5.6 Trends in responses

An objective of Part 3 of the questionnaire was to obtain information to assist in an assessment of common trends, problems responses and effectiveness in matters relating to IUU fishing. For the most part, responses did not indicate global, interregional or regional trends because of the wide range of challenges, effective measures and needed measures indicated by RFBs. In fact, as noted above, most of the items in each of these areas were identified by only one or two RFBs.

However, in assessing the responses, two other types of trends emerge, unconnected to geography. One indicates major challenges, responses by RFBs and further action thought to be needed to combat IUU fishing activities, and the second highlights effective measures and positive action by some RFBs. The trends are indicative only, based on responses to the questionnaire, but clear patterns emerge in the responses. Tabular summaries were prepared for each, described below.

The first tabular summary, in Appendix 6, shows, in general terms, the responses described in detail in sections 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 above. It shows the major challenges identified by RFBs in combating IUU fishing activities, effective measures or actions that have been taken, and improved measures or actions that are needed. Although most of the items indicated were proposed by only one or two RFBs, many may have more extensive applicability. It also demonstrates the wide range of concerns and activity taking place.

There are ten general areas where major challenges were identified, and of these four show multiple entries for effective measures/actions or improved measures that are needed. They are: lack of flag State control, MCS, reporting, and creating economic, trade or other disincentives to IUU fishing. Of these, MCS attracted the highest aggregate of responses under both “effective measures/actions” and “improved measures needed”. Lack of flag State control had the second highest responses in those two categories, but some of the responses shown in the MCS challenge also apply.

One major challenge was identified where there was no response indicating effective measures/actions, but where it was stated that improved measures were needed. This is awareness and education to develop a culture of compliance.

Four major challenges were identified with no effective or improved measures/actions stated: weak capacity of member countries to combat IUU fishing; mending gaps in fisheries regulatory regimes, assessing the extent of non-member and member State IUU fishing, and limiting destructive fishing practices.

Improved cooperation and coordination among RFBs was stated to be effective, with one RFB indicated a need for improvement. Other areas that were perceived to need improvement were formulation of management measures by member States and, in general, almost all areas of IUU fishing.

The second table, in Appendix 7, shows the RFBs that cited effective measures/actions they had taken against IUU fishing activities and also indicated a positive impact of these measures against IUU fishing. There is a very high correlation, because of the five RFBs that detailed effective measures, four reported a positive impact - CCAMLR, CCSBT, FFA and NASCO - and the fifth, ICCAT, expressed some caution. For purposes of IUU fishing, all these RFBs are generally species-focused,[310] and three of the five are tuna RFBs, two of which have a management mandate. Three of the five have adopted catch/trade documentation schemes.

Effective measures cited by two or more RFBs in this group related to catch and trade documentation schemes, trade or other sanctions against countries that do not control their fleets, surveillance systems, port State control, improved MCS by member States and cooperation or diplomatic initiatives with non-Members. Also mentioned were lists of IUU vessels, fisheries observers and consultation and collaboration with other RFBs.

Two RFBs reported the elimination of certain IUU fishing activities. NASCO reported the elimination of fishing in international waters by non-Members, and improved coordination of surveillance. CCSBT, which has adopted a relevant Action Plan, reported the elimination of flag of convenience vessels from a number of countries from the fishery because the trade documentation scheme made the market inaccessible. More recently the scheme led to the deregistration of flag of convenience vessels operating under the flag of a cooperating country.

Two RFBs reported there has been some containment of IUU fishing activities. CCAMLR referred to the localization of IUU fishing activities, and dealing with them effectively on a case-by-case basis. Most perceived offenders have been identified. CCAMLR has a draft Action Plan[311] to combat IUU fishing under review. FFA described the impact of the compliance measures as keeping IUU fishing to a low background level instead of allowing it to get out of control.

The fifth RFB, ICCAT, had reported in Part 2 of the questionnaire a reduction in the estimates of both vessel numbers and unreported catches of bigeye. However, as noted above ICCAT had underlined its concern that this is no proof of a declining trend. It also expressed concern that the potential impact of its measures is diminished because of the time lag between adoption and entry into force of the measures and the dynamic nature of IUU fishing. The latter reflects similar requirements of the decision-making process of most, if not all, RFBs.

It is apparent that measures taken by some RFBs against IUU fishing are starting to have an impact. The measures tend to be species-oriented, and focus on catch documentation, trade, MCS and other forms of compliance. However, while notable progress has been made, the proportion of RFBs that reported positive results is still relatively low and the global reach of IUU fishing remains relatively high.

Looking to the future, some RFBs identified possible improvements to existing measures in order to achieve better results in combating IUU fishing, as noted above. Many referred to adopting or strengthening the type of measures that are now achieving effective results, and in addition some RFBs have referred to such measures as IUU action plans and public awareness/education programmes to develop a culture of compliance.

[252] Respondents to this Part of the questionnaire were: CCAMLR, CCSBT, CECAF, ICCAT, CTMFM, FFA, GFCM, IATTC, NASCO, NPAFC and RECOFI.
[254] CCAMLR, CCSBT, FFA. FFA’s concern was expressed in terms of foreign flag vessels using the high seas as a “safe haven” for conducting IUU fishing in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of members countries.
[256] CCAMLR referred to the difficulties caused by the size of its area of competence (it covers about 12 percent of the world’s oceans) and sea and ice conditions.
[257] CECAF stated that human capacity and equipment to effectively deal with violations and encroachments are weak, and FFA pointed to the lack of manpower and financial resources for fisheries MCS in member countries’ EEZs.
[258] CECAF.
[260] IATTC referred to application of its longline management measures in 2004 to vessels where States have not previously reported catches.
[261] NASCO.
[262] NASCO.
[263] ICCAT.
[264] CCSBT.
[265] IATTC referred expressly to Colombia and Bolivia, which are not member States. NASCO referred to seeking cooperation from France (in respect of St. Pierre and Miquelon) on a sampling programme for the salmon fishery.
[266] CCSBT.
[267] CECAF.
[268] CTMFM.
[269] FFA.
[270] GFCM.
[272] RECOFI.
[273] GFCM responded that workshops are planned to define steps and measures to be taken to combat IUU fishing, and identifying areas where related institutional and financial adaptations will be needed. As a first step, it has been agreed to establish “white” and “black” lists of vessels and supporting vessel registers.
[274] IATTC.
[275] NPAFC. However, the annual report on the website did not provide specific information:
[276] CTMFM referred to developing a system to enable effective and continuous control, and CECAF elaborated more fully on this theme. It stated that information exchange on vessels licensed and registered in the respective countries should be formalized and strengthened to deter illegal operators and violators of regulations and zones. The register or information should be monitored or managed with the support of an effective MCS structure at national or sub-regional level. Sanctions should be stiff and deterrent.
[279] ICCAT, CCSBT (referring to sanctions against countries that do not control their fleets).
[280] CCAMLR, FFA.
[281] NASCO.
[282] CCSBT, FFA (referring to sanctions against countries that do not control their fleets)
[283] NASCO.
[284] FFA.
[285] FFA.
[286] FFA.
[287] FFA.
[288] CCAMLR.
[289] NASCO.
[292] CCAMLR, FFA, CTMFM. CCAMLR referred to centralized VMS. FFA referred to more effective control of foreign flag vessels fishing on the high seas adjacent to the EEZs of member countries. CTMFM referred to applying the best technology against IUU fishing, such as satellite positioning.
[293] CCAMLR is developing such measures.
[294] CECAF, which called also for assistance to its members in these areas.
[295] RECOFI.
[296] NASCO.
[297] CTMFM.
[298] NASCO. The referenced programme is at St. Pierre and Miquelon.
[299] RECOFI.
[300] IATTC.
[301] FFA.
[302] ICCAT.
[303] GFCM.
[304] CCAMLR, CECAF, ICCAT, CTMFM, FFA, GFCM, IATTC, NASCO, RECOFI. CECAF’s response, when read with the responses to other questions in Part 3, indicated benefits from suggested MCS measures, rather than those already applied. It is understood that CECAF’s current focus for combating IUU fishing is on MCS. Its response pointed to less illegal fishing in coastal waters, less encroachment into restricted fishing zones (nurseries or artisanal fishing areas), better production statistics and better planning for fisheries resources management and sustainable fisheries development in the area. GFCM responded N/A.
[305] IATTC.
[306] ICCAT.
[307] CTMFM.
[308] RECOFI.
[309] The RFBs that reported effective measures are: CCAMLR, CCSBT, FFA, ICCAT, NASCO.
[310] CCAMLR has a multispecies mandate, but directs substantial efforts towards IUU fishing for Dissostichus spp.
[311] The objective of the Action Plan is to identify countries that are supporting illegal fishing for SBT, and it is a permanent agenda item for consideration at each annual meeting of the Commission.

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