Home > In Action > Projects > Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ > News > News detail
Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ

Ghana and Fiji: an exchange of experiences on Electronic Monitoring Systems as compliance tools

9 March 2018

Accra, Ghana February 2018. On the 5th of February, members from the Ghanaian Government met with representatives from the Government of Fiji and the Fiji Fishing Industry Association (FFIA) in Accra, Ghana to exchange experiences from having conducted trials on the use of Electronic Monitoring Systems (EMS) as a tool for Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) onboard vessels in their respective fleets.

Both pilot projects were initiated in 2015, when the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) arranged for EMS equipment to be installed aboard Ghanaian purse seine vessels and Fijian long line vessels, with the aim to test how EMS data can be used in national fishery data collection processes and to verify and enhance compliance with fisheries regulations. The Government of Fiji, with support from FAO and the FFIA, has led the activities in Fiji, while the activities in Ghana have been led by World Wide Fund for Nature  (WWF) with support from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), and FAO together with the Government of Ghana and the Ghanaian tuna industry.

Click to enlarge

Over the course of almost two years, equipment have been deployed and tested within the fleets, so this was an opportune time for both teams to get together and exchange knowledge and lessons learned.

With support from the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, the knowledge-exchange was facilitated by local coordinators and representatives from the partners at the Fisheries Commission premises in Tema, Ghana. Twenty participants, including the heads of the Ghanaian MCS and Scientific Survey Divisions, land-based coordinators, the team from Fiji as well as international partners, participated in the meeting.

Initially, the team from Fiji was taken on a tour to view the Electronic Monitoring Center established by the Ghanaian government. Following the tour, there were presentations on the current status of both pilot activities, which then led to discussions on the individual experiences, challenges and benefits encountered, as well as identification of needs and recommendations for the future.

There was general agreement on the usefulness of EMS as a tool for compliance that can complement and strengthen the MCS framework in each country. The system provides the possibility to track all activity and movements of fishing vessels, and to obtain good estimates of catch by major species. Furthermore, the available video footage id ideal for compliance purposes as it provides objectively, independently verifiable data.

It was also mentioned that the tool has played an important part in improving the image of the tuna industry in both countries, and that EMS has helped resolve concerns related to the compliance by the flag States, transshipment and the theft of fish. Participants noted that the support of the industry has grown during the time of the pilot trials. Tampering incidents have decreased over time and the industry has realized the potential of the EMS, particularly in relation to certification, maintaining access to key markets (within the EU), transparency and documentation of good practices.

However, all participants agreed that there is room for improvement. For example, the current camera setup has blind spots and the placement of the cameras could be improved to address this issue. The data analysis needs to be made more efficient through a combination of software development, quality control, as well as training of relevant staff. And finally, the participants acknowledged that staff roles and functions need to be developed that can more fully support the EMS and related procedures.

The aim of the pilots is to demonstrate how effective electronic monitoring tools can be to expand the compliance capabilities of developing States, and how they can be used to increase sustainability in fisheries across the world. Lessons learned during these activities will be applied to further research on EMS feasibility for fishing vessels, including purse seiners and longline vessels but also for other types of vessels in need of strengthened MCS procedures.

The Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with FAO as the implementing agency. This Project harnesses the efforts of a large and diverse array of partners, including the five tuna RFMOs, governments, inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector to achieve responsible, efficient and sustainable tuna production and biodiversity conservation in the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).

A Business Case for the EMS activities in Ghana will be made available shortly, followed by a similar product from Fiji later this year.

World Wide Fund For Nature

For further information, please contact: