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User Needs

The Global Record will be a valuable resource tool to a wide range of users across the global fisheries and maritime sectors. Its potential utility will be limited only by the willingness or otherwise of the international community to address the non-transparency concerns that pervade the international fisheries sector. Initially, its core function will be to provide a quick reference point through which fishing vessels can be accurately identified and pertinent vessel-related information made available but ultimately, through its modular design, it could become a 'one-stop shop' for a wide variety of information.

With this in mind it is important for the project team to understand who the potential users are and what their needs will be. In the case of developing countries it will also be important to assess current capacity and capability to maximise the benefits of a fully functional Global Record, and to identify strategies to provide for any development needs identified.

The immediate focus of the project team will be on Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) users to identify how the Record could best cater to their needs but in order to do this, the project team needs to improve its understanding of current structures, relationships and capacities.

A number of specific activities and fact-finding exercises are contemplated to gain an understanding of the depth of development support that might be needed to make the Global Record fully effective. Discussions with a number of Regional Groupings are occurring with a view to understanding:

  • the make-up of their fishing fleets;
  • the nature and extent of their vessel registration processes;
  • the synergies between the various agencies involved in vessel registration and fisheries management;
  • the information collected through those processes; and
  • the gap (if any) in the information likely to be required for full participation in the Global Record.

Presentations will also be made in other forums so that the wider potential of the Global Record is debated and understood.

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge

Beyond basic vessel identification (which would be a significant improvement in itself), the Global Record has the potential to offer MCS Users a range of information-related benefits in a modular format. For instance:

  • The recently adopted 'Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing' provides an opportunity for significant improvement in the collection of vessel related information and the transparency with which that information is shared. Under the Agreement, vessel inspection information will be made available to FAO and the Global Record could provide the information-sharing mechanism required under Article 16(2). The Record would have the distinct advantage of being able to accurately link the inspection data to the correct vessel and through the use of an international UVI system, ensure that that information remains linked to that vessel regardless of subsequent changes in name or flag.

  • Fishing authorisations could be accurately linked to a vessel, again using the UVI to ensure accuracy. This type of information module would assist in decision-making processes and help prevent the fraudulent duplication of licences across a vessel fleet far larger than that envisaged or approved by the licence issuing authority.

  • Fishing vessel ‘black lists’ can be drawn together and displayed through the Global Record, providing decision-makers and MCS Agencies with accurate and pertinent information in a timely fashion through a single source.

  • Summarised catch data could be displayed through the Global Record, providing significantly improved transparency and statistical data as well as a valuable source for verifying information submitted through traceability schemes.

  • Significantly improved risk assessment, MCS activity planning and investigation processes facilitated by the availability of vessel and related information that is currently very difficult to obtain and in fact beyond the capacity of many Agencies.

Other sectors of the global fisheries community will also be able to use the Global Record is a productive way. It will give them access to real-time data in a way that has never been possible. It should enhance decision-making and provide legitimate fishermen and fish processors with the reassurance that improved transparency will advance their business image and potential.

Other potential applications for the Global Record include:

  • Information related to vessel safety and the 2012 Cape Town Agreements (not yet in force);
  • Information on pollution and prevention management;
  • Information on fleet management and fishing capacity decisions where added transparency and vessel information is desperately needed;
  • Information on maritime security management and risk assessment;
  • Information on product traceability, catch verification and related decisions.

Each of these areas highlights a current information void that the Global Record can provide a solution to. Moreover, the Global Record, by using the UVI system as its foundation, can accurately link pertinent information to the vessel with a level of assurance not otherwise possible.


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