Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Issues of concern at national level

25. Participants informed the Workshop of activities (including legal and technical) undertaken at national and Community level to combat IUU fishing. It was noted that Spain is the only GFCM Member to have adopted a National Plan of Action to implement the IPOA-IUU (NPOA-IUU)[6], and that Japan has continued to implement the IPOA-IUU without adopting a formal NPOA-IUU.

26. Progress at the Community level was described by participants from the EC, including establishment of a new agency for administration of the Community fisheries control and enforcement system, and the 2002 reports by EU Members on serious infringements in their waters. It was acknowledged that penalties for serious offences should be correspondingly high, but that they currently vary throughout the region. In this context, the benefits of a survey on penalties were discussed, and a related problem of securing convictions was raised by the participant from Malta.

27. On a national level, the participant from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya introduced fisheries legislation that had been revised.

28. In general, many participants referred to the fact that their MCS operations concern mainly coastal, not high seas, fisheries. In fact, much of the IUU fishing was reported to be caused by incursions by fishing vessels from neighbouring countries (e.g. in Morocco), by unreported fishing (e.g. Croatia, Malta), or fishing during closed seasons (e.g. swordfish in Turkey). The participant from Malta also noted that lack of adequate control over transshipments was an impediment to combating IUU fishing. MCS over high seas fishing was considered to be expensive and beyond the current capacity of many Members. It was noted, as set out in the Review of Activity that only four GFCM Members currently require VMS, but three others are in various stages of planning to require it.

29. Regarding VMS, the participant from Morocco noted that the system is operational for the Atlantic in respect of boats longer than 24 metres, and the participant from Malta referred to a pilot study in view of EU membership and related requirements, along with their cost. The participant from Croatia emphasized that the high costs of maintaining such a system could be excessive in view of the relatively low value of the fishery to the country. The participant from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya noted that the costs should be carefully weighed. The EC participants explained the current VMS requirements and assistance to its Member States in that regard.

30. It was noted that there is no regional profile of the agency responsible in each country for conducting either MCS (e.g. Coast Guard, immigration services, etc.) or the operations (e.g. patrol boats, fishers reporting on other fishers, VMS, etc.). Logbook systems are not in place in all GFCM Members (for example, Morocco has not yet established a system, but Turkey has made logbooks obligatory for vessels over 12 metres and Malta for vessels over 10 metres). However, it was expected that the MedFisis project would address logbook requirements.

31. Several participants suggested that a survey of technical MCS capacity and practice, building on the work of existing subregional projects, could be useful in addressing IUU fishing and especially in working towards an authorized fishing vessel list. The participants from the EC recalled that the Venice Declaration has stipulated the urgent adoption of concrete measures, and that the establishment of white and black vessel lists will make it possible to better identify and analyse the magnitude of IUU fishing in the Mediterranean.

32. Participants noted the results of the GFCM questionnaire regarding the effectiveness of measures to combat IUU fishing at national level (Tables 3 - 5, and Appendix E.). The responses indicated that, of a range of measures taken, the measure most Members indicated as effective was the comprehensive information maintained on their country’s register of fishing vessels. In discussion, participants generally confirmed this result, but indicated that national institutional capacity and mechanisms for inspection, enforcement, an observer programme and VMS were not as developed, nor were they a priority in some countries.

33. Participants expressed the importance of all GFCM Members preparing National Plans of Actions on IUU fishing.

[6] Please note in addition the existence of a European Community level plan to implement the IPOA-IUU.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page