8. Mr. Thomas A. Mensah introduced the Report of the Expert Consultation to Review Port State Measures to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. He highlighted the following points.
Port State measures constitute a crucial link in the chain of any effort to combat IUU fishing.
It is not practical to contemplate adopting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on port State measures at a global level; the elements proposed by the Expert Consultation were for regional MOUs.
These regional MOUs are but one of the several tools available to address IUU fishing.
The elements within the MOU should be practical in terms of their application and enforcement.
One important element is the control of access of vessels to the port.
The MOU should apply to all vessels engaged in, or supporting, fishing activities, including fishing vessels and vessels transporting fish and fishery products, as well as vessels flying flags of non-compliance or vessels with a history of non-compliance according to measures established by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs).
There is a need for a harmonized and coordinated approach to inspections.
There is a need to use a unique numbering system for fishing vessels, similar to the IMO numbering system, which would include information on the owners and operators.
There is a need for prior notice of port access so that there could be better control when the vessel arrived in port.
There should be effective and credible sanctions, where fishing vessels are found to have violated applicable legislation in waters under the jurisdiction of the port State.
For effective implementation of port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing, exchanges of information are crucial.
There is a need to promote the awareness about IUU fishing and a need to provide assistance to developing States. FAO should consider programmes of assistance.
9. Mr. Mensah noted also that a database concerning relevant port State measures that could be used to combat IUU fishing would be discussed during the Consultation. He submitted the Report of the Expert Consultation for the consideration of the meeting.
10. All Members supported the concept of port State measures to combat IUU fishing and the FAO process that was being followed. The Consultation agreed that there was a need for a suite of model provisions to implement port State measures. Some Members pointed out that this approach did not exclude the need to prepare in the future an international instrument on the rights and obligations of port States.
11. Some Members stated that they had reservations about the MOU as a means of implementing the IPOA-IUU as it would create a further bureaucratic layer and that its establishment would be a lengthy process. They pointed out that RFMOs and their members already enjoy the necessary competence to adopt resolutions and regulations and that they should be encouraged to agree on the relevant port State measures to be taken in their respective regions. They supported the view that the Technical Consultation adopt a draft Resolution as a model to this effect.
12. Other Members considered that the elaboration of an international instrument providing general rules on port State inspections was needed to serve as a reference for action in the field of control of foreign fishing vessels. Therefore, they supported the adoption of a set of provisions recommendations, as proposed by the Technical Consultation describing basic and minimum port State measures, to be forwarded to COFI in 2005. Subsequent action could be taken either through the adoption of regional MOUs or through RFMOs, or at the level of individual port States, as appropriate.
13. The IMO resource person elaborated on the following points that could be of relevance to IUU fishing;
Resolution A.925 (22) on the entry into force and implementation of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol and the 1995 STCW-F Convention;
The proposed convening of a second Joint IMO/FAO Working Group on IUU Fishing and Related Matters;
The exchange of information between FAO and IMO on technical cooperation activities;
The outcome of the second IMO Workshop for port State control MOUs/Agreement Secretaries and Directors of Information Centres;
The forthcoming second Ministerial Conference of the Paris and Tokyo MOUs;
The guidelines on port State control measures with regard to security;
The Automatic Identification System (AIS);
The IMO numbering schemes (IMO Ship Identification Numbers Schemes and the unique company and register owner identification number schemes);
The Continous Synopsis Record (CSR);
The Global Integrated Shipping Information System;
The Voluntary IMO Member Audit Scheme and the code for the implementation of (mandatory) IMO instruments; and
The importance of the number of casualties in fishing activities and of enhanced cooperation between flag States and port States.
14. The resource person from the International Labour Office described the experiences of his organization concerning port state control of merchant ships for compliance with international standards for seafarers. Particular reference was given to the importance of coordination at the national level between the government agencies concerned with port state control. This involved ensuring that the legal provisions are sufficiently clear for port State control officers to take action and that the port State control officers receive sufficient guidance and training especially if they do not have a background in the area concerned. Specific to fishing, the resource person added that ILO was in the midst of developing a comprehensive standard (A Convention and a Recommendation) on work in the fishing sector.
Consideration of the Draft Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Measures to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
15. The Consultation agreed that it would examine the elements contained in the draft Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Measures to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing contained in Appendix E of document TC PSM/2004/2 on a paragraph by paragraph basis. The revised draft document is attached as Appendix E.
16. After a thorough exchange of views and taking into account, among others, the mandate it had received from COFI, the Technical Consultation agreed that the document should be titled model scheme. This model scheme would be considered as constituting principles and guidelines to be used by States as a reference for the negotiation and adoption of regional MOUs or of resolutions or recommendations within RFMOs, as well as alternatively for the adoption of measures by Port States at the national level. The Technical Consultation highlighted that concerted action at the regional level should be encouraged and that these principles and guidelines did not prevent the adoption of additional and eventually stricter measures, provided that such measures be consistent with the applicable rules of international law.
17. The provisions contained in the model scheme are for consideration and adoption as appropriate, by States, RFMOs and at the regional level. The model scheme does not affect the competences of RFMOs with respect to port State measures.
18. The Legal Counsel advised that the model scheme which was reviewed and discussed during the Consultation was a framework, a set of minimum requirements which States, RFMOs or others could use and consult when developing port State measures. In the current context, there is no question of reservations as reflected in public international law. The model scheme is voluntary in nature.
19. Japan reserved its position with respect to Appendix E of the report of the Technical Consultation on the basis of its view in terms of the application and implementation of international law. Japan also noted that the document did not consider the different characteristics of fisheries and fish products and that flexibility was required to accommodate such differences.
Programmes of assistance to facilitate human development and institutional strengthening, including legal assistance, in developing countries so as to promote the full and effective implementation of port State measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
20. The Consultation considered this item on the basis of document TC PSM/2004/3, which was supplemented by an introduction by the Secretariat. It was pointed out that in view of the novelty, complexity, and interdisciplinary nature of the issues involved in IUU fishing and, in particular, port State measures, the need to enhance human resources development and strengthen institutions to address these important and emerging issues cannot be over-emphasized. Furthermore, while expertise in the conventional areas of control will continue to be important, the rapid pace of change in information technology required that those with responsibility for port State measures in developing countries acquired appropriate additional and updated knowledge and skills.
21. There was strong support in principle for the general aims of the proposed Programme of Assistance. Many Members made observations concerning the structure and delivery mechanisms outlined in the document. Several Members pointed out that the Programme should be designed primarily to assist developing countries in achieving their specific national objectives, in keeping with the IPOA-IUU.
22. The Consultation noted that while FAO should play a key role in the design and implementation of the Programme, active participation and concrete support from governments, international and regional organizations, as well as donor agencies and financial institutions would be necessary. In this regard, the Consultation emphasized the need for strengthened collaboration between FAO, IMO and ILO.
23. The Secretariat informed the Consultation that the budget estimates provided in the document for the regional workshops and follow-up activities at national level were tentative approximations. These would be adjusted in the course of formulating the proposal in greater detail. The Consultation was further informed that while FAO would continue to provide financial resources in respect to activities to combat IUU fishing, additional funding required in the framework of port State measures would probably have to be sought from extra-budgetary sources.
24. Some Members expressed their willingness to consider the provision of financial resources in support of the proposal in due course. Others, however, indicated that they would like to see the activities supported from the regular budget of FAO. The Consultation invited FAO to engage in discussions with donor agencies and financial institutions with a view to obtaining the necessary funds to enhance human capacity development and institutional strengthening on port State measures in developing countries.
25. The Consultation recommended that a refined draft of the proposal, as concise and short as the need to be comprehensive permitted, should be prepared by the Secretariat, in consultation with IMO and ILO as appropriate, for consideration by the Twenty-sixth Session of the Committee on Fisheries in 2005.
Establishment of a database concerning relevant port States measures
26. The Secretariat introduced document TC PSM/2004/4 entitled Establishment of a database concerning relevant port state measures. The paper proposed the establishment of an FAO database that could draw on existing databases held in the FAO Legal Office and in the Fisheries Department. The paper also set up the steps required to establish such a database. It could contain measures that had been adopted by RFMOs and FAO Members in implementing port State measures.
27. The Technical Consultation supported the establishment of such a database. However, some questions were raised and clarifications sought concerning funding and maintenance of the proposed database as well as the information to be held in the database.
28. The IMO resource person provided a history of the development of port State control databases at regional, interegional and global levels and referred to:
Equasis, which was established by the European Commission and France;
The information Systems created by the port State control MOUs/Agreement; and
The development of the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) on, inter alia, security, port State control and casualties-related data.