46. Mr Brown made a presentation concerning the three NPOAs-IUU for the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga and Tuvalu for which he had been responsible for drafting under a regional FAO TCP project. In his presentation, he discussed the methodology that had been adopted in elaborating the NPOAs-IUU, the contacts and consultations that had been undertaken while carrying out the work, the major problems and constraints encountered and steps he had taken to overcome these problems and constraints. Mr Brown pointed out that prior to commencing the consultancy, he had collected as much information as possible from sources such as FAO, the Asian Development Bank, FFA, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and from national websites. He noted that in developing the fisheries profile for each of the countries there was considerable information available relating to offshore fisheries but a scarcity of recent information for inshore fisheries.
47. In terms of his consultation with departments and agencies, Mr Brown advised the Workshop that he had discussed the scope and content of the NPOAs-IUU broadly within countries. In each case he had sought information from these departments and agencies. In preparing the NPOAs-IUU, Mr Brown stated that he was keenly aware of the economic and social importance of fisheries in the three countries, particularly in view of the large amounts of vessel licence revenue generated in the offshore fisheries. He also noted that MCS aspects were a major feature of the IPOA-IUU and the NPOAs-IUU. He underscored the need for better regional cooperation in the Pacific Islands with respect to licensing of foreign vessels and MCS generally. Mr Brown also expressed the view that countries in the region should seek to enhance national observer programmes and that these programmes would be better executed on a regional or subregional basis since foreign vessels operated in more than one EEZ. He noted that at the present time there was about a 20 percent coverage, under FFA arrangements, of fishing trips in the region. On the issue of confidentiality, Mr Brown expressed the view that countries should not include strategically sensitive information, especially about MCS operations, in the NPOA-IUU because it was a public document and the publication of such information could undermine efforts to combat IUU fishing.
48. In drafting NPOAs-IUU, Mr Brown advised participants that countries could take the three NPOAs-IUU that had already been elaborated as a starting point, particularly since some of the information in these plans was standard. He also encouraged participants to refer to the model NPOA-IUU as they started the drafting process. In adopting an inclusive approach for the elaboration of NPOAs-IUU, Mr Brown noted that a broad awareness in government would be created and that surprises would be avoided at a later stage when the NPOAs-IUU neared completion. Such an approach would also ensure that information included in the plans was both comprehensive and accurate.
49. In discussions following the presentation, participants acknowledged that a NPOA-IUU was in fact a collection of activities that had already been undertaken together with those that should be undertaken as a means of combating IUU fishing. They also recognised that a NPOA-IUU was subject to periodic revision so as to ensure that it remained current, especially in the Pacific Islands region where fisheries were highly dynamic.
50. Some participants inquired whether an extended deadline had been agreed for the preparation of NPOAs-IUU given that June 2004 had passed. The Workshop was advised that an extended deadline had not been agreed and it was noted that, independently of the IPOA-IUU, some activities such as the notification of vessels authorized to fish on the high seas should have already been advised to the Secretariat of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Participants were also advised that following the completion of their NPOAs-IUU, it was not required to formally transmit them to FAO, even though the Organization would welcome receiving copies.
51. The issue was raised as to whether NPOAs-IUU should contain information relating to what departments or agencies would undertake certain actions in the implementation process, what resources would be required, what timeframe would be followed etc. The Workshop was advised that the IPOA-IUU did not envisage such comprehensive planning and to this extent the NPOAs-IUU might be more appropriately viewed as a set of guidelines for coordinated and coherent actions against IUU fishing. Consequently, it should not be necessary in most countries to have the NPOAs-IUU adopted or otherwise endorsed, as would be the case for a more formal plan that had clear financial implications for governments.
52. Participants noted that the preparation of the model NPOA-IUU was an excellent initiative by FAO. This model would assist countries in their efforts to develop their respective national plans.