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The Global Record is envisaged as a global repository (database and associated information system) designed primarily to provide reliable identification of vessels engaging in fishing or fishing related activities.

An essential element will be the assignment of a unique vessel identifier (UVI) to each vessel so that regardless of ownership or flag changes over time, the UVI will remain constant. This will provide certainty to the vessel record and facilitate the accurate association of vessel related information. Once the core vessel record is established, it will be possible to associate a wide range of information modules providing a comprehensive information picture on all aspects of the vessel’s operation.

The following diagram illustrates the vessel identification module at the core of the Global Record system. For illustrative purposes it is populated with IHS-Fairplay (formerly Lloyd’s Register-Fairplay) vessel data, although final decisions as to which UVI system will be used are still to be made. The diagram then illustrates the types of information modules that can be developed around the central vessel information module, using the UVI as the essential link across all information sources.

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge

Such a comprehensive information picture is not currently available and often, only well-resourced States are able to even contemplate the type of detailed investigation needed to establish it. Therefore, bearing in mind that the key aim of the Global Record is to prevent deter and eliminate IUU fishing, the information picture that it will facilitate will vastly improve sector transparency and will:

  • assist in the verification of data submitted through traceability schemes;
  • assist decision-making at all levels across the fisheries sector;
  • assist resource allocation and prioritization processes by Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) agencies, globally;
  • empower and enhance existing MCS tools and measures employed to combat IUU fishing;
  • inform MCS investigations;
  • enhance the monitoring of flag State performance and other international commitments such as reduction in fishing capacity, subsidy payments, etc; and
  • highlight and deter corruption and other illegal practices.

Overall, the Global Record reduces the opportunity to engage in IUU fishing by making illegal activity more obvious. In turn this will enable key decision-makers across the fisheries sector to react in a timely fashion and ensure that illegal products do not find their way into the legitimate market place.

In the 2014 edition of "The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture" the total number of fishing vessels in the world was estimated to be about 4.72 million in 2012. The fleet in Asia was the largest, consisting of 3.23 million vessels accounting for 68 percent of the global fleet, followed by Africa (16 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (8 percent), North America (2.5 percent) and Europe (2.3 percent).

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