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5.1 Features of existing fisheries management in the Mediterranean relating to IUU fishing

5.1.1 GFCM

Many of the management initiatives and constraints facing GFCM are described in the preceding sections of the paper, with the constraints including uneven data submission by members, the need for an integrated database, uncertainties in stock evaluations, monitoring (of fishing effort, as well as fisheries activities), control and surveillance/enforcement and institutional capacity.

A major constraint in this regard is the difficulty of identifying and quantifying IUU fishing activities in the Mediterranean. Although a Capture Database for the GFCM area is maintained at FAO, it does not readily reveal IUU fishing information. The data is sourced from ICCAT and FAO member countries, and it is unclear whether it is verified. It shows data from 1972 primarily for highly migratory fish stocks, and there is a distinct downward trend in catches in recent years. Reported catches by distant water fishing vessels (including members and non-members of GFCM) decreased to a low of 396 tonnes in 2000 from a high of 5 685 tonnes in 1996. It shows information on flag vessels from China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Panama, Portugal, Taiwan Province of China and others "not identified.[96]" The greatest proportion of catch was taken by unidentified flag vessels over the past ten years, except for 2001 when the catches are attributed primarily to Japan, Panama, Portugal and Taiwan Province of China.

Likewise, the FAO High Seas Vessel Authorization Record, while well-conceived, contains information from a limited range of countries and does not easily provide information on IUU fishing in the Mediterranean. To benefit GFCM in respect of those vessels on the Register, it would need a well-planned system for sighting and reporting vessels carrying out IUU fishing activities.

The ICCAT "List of Large-Scale Longline Vessels Believed to be Engaged in IUU Fishing Activities in the ICCAT Convention Area and Other Areas", approved by the Commission in 2002, lists 378 vessels and indicates the area transshipped. There are two entries for the Mediterranean, and many for the Atlantic region. A majority of the vessels listed show the current flag, or previous flag, to be from a country that operates open registers.

Based on existing information, it is believed that there are a number of vessels carrying out IUU fishing activities in the Mediterranean that are foreign, many from the Asia-Pacific region, and some are open register vessels. As noted above, it is believed that IUU fishing activities take place both on the high seas and in areas under national jurisdiction. However, in order to better detect and manage such activities, it appears that there is a clear need to address the existing constraints described above.

5.1.2 National legal framework, GFCM Members: CopeMed and AdriaMed

Reviews setting out summaries of national fisheries laws have been prepared for FAO in respect of CopeMed for the western Mediterranean and AdriaMed for the Adriatic Sea.[97] While there can be a vast difference between what is on the books and what is effectively implemented on-ground, the existing national legal regimes can indicate where a country may be prepared to effectively implement national or regional measures on IUU fishing activities, where lacunae exist and where harmonization may be needed.

The international obligations of each country may vary, but as noted above, if a State is not party to an international instrument, this does not preclude implementation. In addition, the Code of Conduct, IPOA - Capacity and IPOA - IUU are voluntary instruments and are meant to be implemented without formal acceptance.

The reviews described below are very useful in providing a database on the legal and institutional framework relating to fisheries in the relevant sub-region. For purposes of IUU fishing, however, the information might be further enhanced in future by noting what needs to be done to implement the IPOA - IUU and relevant international instruments, so that priorities can be set. For example, a checklist of areas of national law that might be needed for this purpose could be developed for planning purposes, including, as appropriate, requirements relating to: CopeMed

The review of the legislation for the Western Mediterranean[99] contains information on regional cooperation,[100] maritime zones, regulation of marine fisheries (including sub-sectors of fisheries such as commercial, recreational and highly migratory) and marine protected areas.

In describing the regulation of marine fisheries, the review describes a range of measures, such as: establishment of zones for fishing; regulation of gear; fishing methods, size requirements for fish, and fishing effort and capacity. This useful encyclopedic approach shows great variances in management frameworks and measures, and could benefit any future initiatives to coordinate the regulation of shared stocks or highly migratory stocks.

In a subsequent study for the area, requested by the CopeMed project, comparative information on fisheries management was presented in the context of four themes: maritime zones; access regimes under national jurisdiction; management institutions and administration of fisheries activities; and management of fishing effort.[101]

Although the studies are not aimed at IUU fishing, some relevant information is included. For example, for the most part commercial fishing within areas of national jurisdiction of CopeMed countries is reserved for national flag vessels, and only four countries[102] require authorizations for national fishing vessels to fish beyond areas of national jurisdiction. Access agreements are usually required for non-national vessels to fish in areas under national jurisdiction. The latter is a standard provision in the laws of many countries, in order that flag State responsibility can be invoked by the coastal State. The practice is changing in some places, with arrangements based instead on joint ventures or other mechanisms.

Institutional arrangements are described in terms of central administration, research and negotiation/consultation bodies. They vary widely, with only two countries reported to have instituted consultative mechanisms at regional and local levels.[103] Representation by interest groups in the fishing industry is reported to take many forms throughout the region. The policies/plans/strategies of the institutions are not described, and this could be a useful next step in terms of addressing issues relating to IUU fishing and capacity.

Regarding management of fishing effort, a comparative table is provided showing, by country, the limitation of fishing licenses and seasons or area, regulations allowing management by quota or total allowable catch (TAC) and plans or measures relating to fishing capacity.

The study shows that all states have regulations on minimum size of fish and gear or fishing methods, most have laws to allow for regulation of the length, tonnage and power of vessels,[104] four have marine reserves[105] and three can regulate fisheries by zones.[106] AdriaMed

The review of the AdriaMed countries[107] takes a similar approach to the study for CopeMed, describing inter alia access regimes, conservation and management measures and MCS. The information is based on responses to a questionnaire, and shows a wide variety of practices with respect to licensing for the various sub-sectors, effort and gear limitation and fisheries reserves, and for MCS purposes registers, landing requirements, data collection, and observers. Summaries comparing the approaches by the different countries are not provided, but this could be a useful reference document for the sub-region and for use in developing regional measures.

5.2 MCS in the GFCM region

The MCS in the GFCM region is currently carried out primarily on a national basis. For areas under national jurisdiction, MCS is the responsibility of the coastal State, and as required under coastal State and international laws, the flag State. National MCS can also be coordinated with other coastal states in the region and relevant RFMOs.

On a regional basis, including the high seas, some measures taken by RFMOs, described above, show a range of possible approaches to coordinated MCS, such as development by working groups of registers that can be used for control through use as "black" (IUU vessels) or "white" (vessels authorized to fish) lists, development of catch documentation or trade information schemes, action against non-parties, port inspection programmes and coordination of VMS schemes. In the Mediterranean, GFCM does not currently implement any of these measures but ICCAT requirements noted previously would apply to the relevant species, and relevant FAO databases could support management/MCS, mindful of current limitations.

From the perspective of the European Commission, a 2000 report "Control and Surveillance Operations of Member States"[108] reviews the second five-year programme of Community financial contribution towards the control and surveillance of Member States, covering 1996-2000. While this report does not apply to all GFCM members, trends in EU assessment and priorities for MCS may be of relevance to future decisions of GFCM.

The report notes that the programme of support for the EU countries, valued at €205 million, committed almost two thirds to the funding of "heavy" control equipment-large patrol vessels and aircraft. This compares with a ten per cent allocation to inshore patrols and land vehicles. Nearly ten percent was allocated to the programme of satellite tracking and monitoring, and a similar amount to the upgrading of the data-processing capacities of the control services of Member States. Only two per cent and one per cent respectively was allocated to communication equipment and training.

Assessments suggested that the introduction of new technology and the more integrated approaches to MCS being adopted by most Member States will inevitably lead to a reduction in the reliance on and use of heavy equipment. The modernization and improved effectiveness of MCS operations was favoured by the report over the maintenance of MCS operations.

The building of a pan-European system of VMS had been established as a high priority, backed up with Community legislation requiring that all vessels over 24m in length participate in such automated monitoring, or comply with even more stringent physical inspection procedures, by January 2000. This part of the programme was judged to be particularly successful in promoting and achieving the establishment and installation of a new infrastructure for control.

While some EU members were reported to have made considerable advances in improved data handling and integration, collaborations in data exchange[109] were reported as being less in evidence.

The report assessed that greater use could be made of financial assistance in meeting the costs of training. Productive areas of activity were identified as improving the number and range of skilled personnel engaged in control activities, and making use of programmes for the exchange of experience. However, these continued to receive low ranking in member State submissions for funding.

The report recommended that the focus for the next five-year programme should be integration, including the following, which could be useful for all GFCM members to consider:

The capacity of non-EU GFCM members for MCS activities is generally lower, especially in terms of activities such as VMS.[110] However, in addressing MCS in the context of GFCM and IUU fishing, and prioritizing programmes, the above offers a useful checklist.

5.3 Possible process and considerations for implementation

This document has described some major difficulties of fisheries management in the GFCM Area of Competence. Although GFCM has taken some important steps in the direction of improving fisheries management, noted above in section 3.1, much needs to be done at regional, subregional and national levels to address IUU fishing activities by flag of convenience vessels, non-member non-cooperating vessels and vessels of GFCM Member States, and by others who participate in activities relating to IUU caught fish, such as landings, transshipments and marketing. In this regard, the focus should be on "IUU fishing activities" as appropriate, and not just "IUU fishing".

The formal process could involve, at national level, the formation of NPOAs that address measures and other actions to implement the IPOAs, as suggested by the FAO Technical Guidelines. It is recognized, however, that many GFCM member countries may not currently have the capacity to do so. This is an area where technical assistance and/or capacity strengthening could produce significant results. In any event, the experience of most RFMOs shows that agreement on major measures and actions often takes place first at regional level, and as appropriate implementation occurs at national level, through NPOAs or other mechanisms.

An option to approach implementation of the IPOA - IUU would therefore be to identify priorities and actions for GFCM in implementing the IPOA - IUU and related areas of the IPOA - Capacity, taking into account international instruments, subregional and regional initiatives and institutional arrangements, and the strengths, differences and deficiencies in fisheries management in member countries throughout the region.

In parallel, and within the context of GFCM priorities and strategies, action could be undertaken to assess the progress or capacity of GFCM member countries to formulate NPOAs, identify where national action, technical assistance or capacity strengthening might be needed and develop, as appropriate, national strategies and programmes.

Decisions would need to be taken as to the mechanisms for forwarding such a procedure to implement the IPOA - IUU, including for example expert consultations, technical consultations, working groups and the development of policies, plans and strategies.

This approach has potential benefits at regional, subregional and national levels. First, it can lead to strengthened regional fisheries management through a range of measures and actions to combat IUU fishing. Also, it can promote among GFCM members the harmonization of measures and actions central to the management of high seas fisheries resources, shared stocks and highly migratory stocks. It is also consistent with the Technical Guidelines, which recommend that an integral part of the NPOAs should refer to cooperation through RFMOs.

In embarking on a such a process, consideration could be taken of relevant frameworks, precedent and potential measures and actions as detailed in this document in the following areas:

Priorities and procedures would need to be agreed in GFCM for considering all relevant areas, and potential cooperation and collaboration could be identified in respect of other RFMOs, bodies, organizations and states (including non-members). The existing programmes and management initiatives of GFCM, described above, could be further elaborated in this context.

[96] Referred to as "nei" or not elsewhere identified.
[97] Cacaud, Philippe, "Revue de la réglementation relative à la pêche maritime et aux aires protégées dans les pays participant au projet CopeMed", Rome, January 2002, and Cacaud, Philippe, "Review of Fisheries Legislation and Regulations in the AdriaMed Countries", Rome, October 2002.
[98] The 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement refers to this, Article 21(8).
[99] This area encompasses Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Malta, Italy, France, Spain and the European Union.
[100] For protection of biodiversity in the Mediterranean and for the conservation and management of fishery resources through ICCAT and GFCM. Regarding regional cooperation through GFCM, the report notes that GFCM encourages non-member States whose vessels fish in the region to become members or to cooperate with the work and recommendations adopted by GFCM.
[101] Cacaud, Philippe, "Etude comparative sur la réglementation en matière de pêche maritime dans les pays de la Méditerranée occidentale participant au projet CopeMed", Rome, May 2002.
[102] Spain, France, Italy and Malta.
[103] France and Morocco.
[104] Libya is the only country that does not.
[105] Spain, France, Libya and Malta.
[106] Algeria, Italy and Tunisia.
[107] Albania, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia.
[108] "Evaluation of the Community Financial Contribution towards the Control and Surveillance Operations of Member States", prepared for DG FISH of the European Commission by Nautilus Consultants Ltd. (UK) in partnership with study partners in May 2000.
[109] Between member States and between member States and the European Commission.
[110] Although, for example, Morocco is developing a VMS programme.

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