Tuna sustainability and IUU

Published by FiskerForum, 03-07-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

Sustainability and the fight against IUU fishing are today’s buzzwords, in distant waters such as as Equatorial Guinea, the Cook Islands and the Seychelles, where the Spanish tuna fleet operates, keeping track of vessel activity in real time has been boosted. The Organisation of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Vessels (OPAGAC) in conjunction with Satlink, recently presented the technology used on board their vessels at the headquarters of the Permanent Representation of Spain (REPER) in Brussels.

Satlink provides these vessels with the VMS for locating fishing vessels and the Electronic Recording and Reporting System (ERS) for sending daily catch reports to the administrations, besides managing the FADs used in this fishery.

OPAGAC presented this technology in Brussels before MEPs and embassy representatives from more than ten countries, European Commission members, the press and NGOs, including WWF Spain with which OPAGAC develops its Fisheries Improvement Project designed to optimise management of RPOs, adopt specific measures on tuna purse-seiners to ensure sustainability for tropical tuna species and minimise impact in the ecosystem, while improving governance of coastal countries and the fight against IUU fishing.

From the end of 2000 onwards, OPAGAC has been a pioneer in integrating monitoring systems on the 40 purse seiners in its fleet. This technological progress is backed by this being the first fleet to voluntarily carry scientific observers on board. The SeaTube Electronic Observer system enhances monitoring by recording activity on board using an array of cameras fitted at various points on the ship. Recordings are checked by Digital Observer, a company belonging to Satlink, drafting reports by independent observers that can be checked on thanks to the recordings stored.

In 2014, Belize, Fiji, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu, together accounting for over €50 million in imports each year, agreed on measures to ensure sustainability. The EU issued warnings last year to Trinidad & Tobago, Kiribati and Sierra Leone to take measures and, according to the European Commission, other countries are still involved in IUU fishing. This means that the thousands of tonnes of illegally caught tuna imported into the EU.

OPAGAC is contributing to developing monitoring systems in Equatorial Guinea,the Cook Islands and the Seychelles, activities that include a private fishing agreement with Equatorial Guinea under which the organisation has financed installing a VMS system in the capital, Malabo, to improve monitoring this fleet.


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