Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ

Tuna compliance specialists from all five tuna RFMOs come together to tackle assessment procedures

Summary of the 3rd workshop of the Tuna Compliance Network

30 April 2019

22-24 February 2019 | Bangkok, Thailand. For the first time ever, the five officers responsible for compliance and the five Chairs of the Compliance Committees of the tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) gathered, together with independent experts in compliance review mechanisms and non-tuna RFMO officers, at the 3rd Workshop of the Tuna Compliance Network (TCN), to assess challenges to current compliance assessment procedures and identify solutions for their improvement. This workshop was held back-to-back with the 6th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop organized by the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network (International MCS Network), where TCN members and Chairs of Compliance Committees participated as speakers.

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Workshop participants at the meeting venue in Bangkok, Thailand.
© Tuna Compliance Network

During the 3 day meeting, participants exchanged information about their current compliance assessment systems, each identifying their own systems' strengths and challenges. They acknowledged there is a lot of detail in RFMO measures and obligations that may be subject to compliance review. There can be notable differences between Members in their capacity to comply with obligations and there are sometimes limited consequences when Members are in a situation of non-compliance. Some of the solutions considered included: improving the clarity of RFMO measures and reducing potential duplicities and overlaps; complementing the information provided by Members with independently verified information; prioritising and/or ranking measures (e.g. using risk assessments); determining stable audit points to organize compliance assessment reviews; identifying the consequences of non-compliance, improving reporting and information management systems (an issue that was addressed at the 2nd Workshop of the TCN), and strengthening capacity building.

"Effective compliance is at the core of any RFMO mandate. While there are many challenges to streamline and review Members' compliance information, we have identified at this Workshop several tools that can be helpful to the tuna RFMO Secretariats and to our Members", said Lara Manarangi-Trott, Compliance Manager at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), and the newly elected Chair of the TCN.

The initiative to form a tuna compliance network, was organized under the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project together with the International MCS Network. It was established in March 2017 to facilitate communication and cooperation between officers responsible for compliance in the tuna RFMOs and other experts in fisheries compliance and monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS). The TCN's ultimate objective is to share information on compliance processes and ultimately contribute towards reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The five tuna RFMOs involved in the network are: Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT); Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC); International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT); Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC); and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

This Workshop is part of a broader strategy supported by the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project aimed at strengthening MCS efforts in world tuna fisheries by developing tools to assist in the combat against IUU fishing. The Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and harnesses the efforts of a diverse array of partners, including the five tuna RFMOs.

Learn more about the TCN here, and for additional information please contact:

The Gef Common Oceans
International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network for Fisheries-related Activities
IGSD TCN