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Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:54

Fishing nets must have ID tags

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World Animal Protection call on the member states of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to ensure all fishing nets are ID tagged by 2025 to reduce the numbers of marine animals being killed by lost fishing nets.

Every year more than one hundred thousand whales, dolphins, seals and turtles are caught in "ghost gear" - abandoned, lost and discarded fishing nets, lines and traps which can take up to 600 years to decompose. A staggering 640,000 MT of ghost gear is left in the ocean each year. At present, there are no effective mechanisms to identify the owner of fishing gear when it is lost or abandoned, making it harder to hold companies responsible and identify illegal operations. Fishing gear is designed to capture and kill and when lost it can cause immense suffering for marine animals that can get caught in this incredibly durable equipment. The animals suffer a prolonged and painful death, usually suffocating or starving to death. Seven out of ten (70%) entanglements involve plastic ghost gear.

Source: Voxy, 10 July,2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:50

Pacific bluefins in depleted state?

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According to the Pew Charitable Trust, the Pacific bluefin tuna population is at just 3.3% of its unfished level, a conclusion that the NGO says confirms the species’ severely depleted status.

Basing its statement on a recently concluded study by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean, Pew says that there is continued need for more effective management of the fishery despite countries finally agreeing last year to a rebuilding plan for the species.

The study found that most of the recent catch has been composed of juvenile fish and that despite the heavily depleted status of the stock, the overal catch rose between 2015 and 2016 as four of the five main fishing nations exceeded their quotas. It points out that the estimated number of Pacific bluefin spawned in 2016 was more than double that in 2015 but only slightly above the average over the past 50 years.

Pew calls upon the IATTC and WCPFC to take a science-based approach to ensure that the population is indeed on the road to recovery and must agree on a Pacific-wide harvest strategy that includes precautionary objectives and pre-agreed rules for managing the fishery.

Source: INFOFISH International 4/2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:47

APEC economies committed to the ocean- IUU Fishing

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In June, experts and decision makers from around the world gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to focus on the commitment made by nations in 2015 to protect the health of the ocean.

Voluntary agreements have been pledged across the spectrum, from industries to NGOs, in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 “Life Below Water”.
The Global Oceans Program (GOP) of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) representative, said Illegal 

Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is diverting the commitment to reach the SDG 14 by 2020. In her presentation on IUU to the APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) said to reach the SDG 14, a combined effort is required by all groups and agencies involved in the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of its oceans.

She further said that TNC is working in unison with respective authorities and international bodies at the national, regional and global to help combat IUU fishing.

In the Pacific Islands, IUU fishing has cost US$660 million annually in loss of revenue from ocean resources.

Source: APEC, 7 August, 2018

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) released a publication predicting that climate change will affect the productivity of the world’s freshwater and marine fisheries. The report urges countries to meet their adaptation commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to minimize the impacts of climate change on the world’s fisheries and the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people.

The publication titled, Impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture: Synthesis of current knowledge, adaptation and mitigation options, combines global, regional and national analyses and modeling from over 100 collaborating scientists’ projects. Because of a changing climate, the Synthesis projects, among other impacts: shifts in ocean circulation patterns; rising sea levels; altered rainfall and storm patterns; and changes in water temperature and pH levels. These changes are predicted to alter the distribution and productivity of marine species and increase the incidence of aquatic diseases and other impacts such as coral bleaching.

Speaking at the report’s launch FAO Director-General urged the international community to provide adequate support to help countries adapt to climate change. Observing the failure of the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) board to decide on replenishment of the fund in the previous week, he appealed to governments on the GCF board to resolve their disagreements over funding.

Source: ICSF Samudra News Alert, 12 July 2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:40

Women in Fisheries website launched

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New research exploring women’s roles in fishing families officially gets going, as the Women in Fisheries project launches its new website. The study is examining how women contribute to the survival of both fishing families and the fishing industry, and will shed light on women’s roles, identities and wellbeing.
Collecting data on both sides of the Atlantic - in Newfoundland, Canada and in the UK - Women in Fisheries is also hoping to understand how small-scale fishing families (those using boats under 10m in length) are adapting to a changing environmental and economic climate. The new website helps to provide background on the research and explores what we currently know about the role of women in this sector.

The site features a regularly updated news section where people can follow the project’s progress; read about latest research; and hear about other efforts to improve recognition of women in fisheries on local and international levels.

Source: AKTEA, 8 August 2018

Common oceans are marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) that are not governed by any single nation. Instead, all nations are jointly responsible for sustainably managing those areas. ABNJ, also known as common oceans, include the high seas and the seabed’s beyond the extended continental shelf of coastal states - areas which are difficult to monitor, challenging to manage and easy to over-exploit.

Unfortunately, common oceans face a variety of threats including illegal fishing, pollution and unsustainable fishing and shipping practices. These activities are damaging diverse and valuable ecosystems that provide important ecosystem services, essential food and vital livelihoods for people around the world. Millions of families in both developed and developing countries depend on income generated from fishing and its associated activities. 150 000 MT of deep-sea species of fish are caught every year, and up to 50 different deep-sea species are caught in common oceans alone.

Building on the need to achieve sustainable management of fisheries and biodiversity conservation in common oceans, FAO developed the Common Oceans ABNJ Programme with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Programme, comprised of four individual projects, is an innovative, unique and comprehensive initiative working in close collaboration with two other GEF agencies, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. Focusing on tuna and deep-sea fisheries, the four projects bring together some 65 partners including governments, regional management bodies, civil society, the private sector, academia and industry to work towards ensuring the sustainable use and conservation of ABNJ biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Source: FAO, 2 July 2018

Blockchain is a new way of storing data that allows a network of computers to store tamper-proof information which can be viewed by anyone at anytime. Several organisations such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Earth Twine have launched trials to determine how the technology can be used in the seafood industry to track products from harvest to plate, including whether the seafood had been caught and processed illegally or using slave labour.

According to a release by the World Wildlife Fund, WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia, and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global tech innovator ConsenSys, information and communications technology (ICT) implementer TraSeable and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd., to deliver the project in Fiji.

The WWF Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project will use a combination of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, quick response (QR) code tags and scanning devices to collect information at various points along the supply chain.

The WWF Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project follows on the heels of a pilot project carried out by a British company, Provenence, in collaboration with the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF). This project successfully tracked a handline caught yellowfin tuna from Maluku, Indonesia, all the way to the UK using blockchain, demonstrating how the technology has potential to support traceability in small-scale fisheries.

Source: INFOFISH International 3/2018


A growing number of countries are signing up to a global agreement that helps stop illegal fishing, as the international community marks the first International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. IUU fishing is estimated to affect one in every five fish caught, with an annual cost of up to US$23 billion.

The date was chosen to highlight the scourge of IUU fishing because it is the anniversary of the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) which came into force in 2016. The PSMA is the first binding international agreement that specifically targets illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. So far 54 States and the European Union have become Parties to the Agreement and many have already started implementing the provisions.

The PSMA is complemented by a suite of other instruments such as the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance adopted in 2014 and the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Catch Documentation Schemes adopted in 2017 to provide better and more harmonized traceability of fish along the value chain.

Source: Devdiscourse, 8 June 2018

Thursday, 16 August 2018 01:16

Tuna ‘Bridging Measure’ adopted at WCPFC14

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The 14th session of the Tuna Commission (WCPFC14) held in December 2017, adopted important measures governing tuna fishing activities for 2018 in the Western and Central Pasific Ocean. The most important decision endorsed by the Commission’s 28-member countries was agreement on a ‘Bridging Measure’ for bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin, the largest commercial harvesting activity in the WCPO fishery. This, and other measures endorsed by the Commission become legally binding in February 2018.

As it happened, February 2018 was also the month that the UN FAO released a study which revealed that approximately 60% of the world’ assessed fish stocks are fully exploited and 31% is over-fished.

The WCPO fishery is the world’s largest, producing nearly 60% of the globe’s entire tuna harvest with a catch value estimated at US$4.7 billion in 2015. For the Commission’s largest bloc, the 21 Pacific island countries and territories, a sustainable WCPO fishery is not only important for jobs and economy, it is their main source of nutrition and security.

Source: INFOFISH International 3/2018

New limits are being placed on vessels fishing skipjack tuna in 2018 after the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) implemented harvest control rules on the species. As sustainability is a great concern in the tuna industries, the new limits will help safeguard the sustainable use of fish stocks.

Currently, there is no catch limit set by the Commission on any of the 16 species that fall under their mandate. As the population of skipjack is considered healthy, the Commission sees it as being in a better position “to implement management measures to meet the Commission’s objective on sustainability and yield.” Focusing on sustainability, the Commission said in an IOTC news release “that tuna production in the Indian Ocean cannot continue to expand in the same fashion as they have done in the past. ” The same communique stated that “the skipjack fishery in the Indian Ocean is one of the largest tuna fisheries in the world, with annual total catches of 400,000 to 600,000 MT over the past decade”, “Seychelles-flagged purse seiners caught over 60,000 MT of skipjack in 2016, nearly twice as much as the catch in 2014.”

According to Resolution 16/02 on harvest control rules for skipjack tuna, adopted at the twentieth session of the IOTC in May 2016, the skipjack tuna stock assessment shall be conducted every three years.The quota will be calculated every year based on the change in the stock status. An assessment was completed in October 2017. The result will be used in the calculation of catch limit that will apply for the next three years starting 2018. The following year, the Commission will review the measures.

Since 2011 the Commission has been evaluating strategies to manage key tuna species. Last year, yellowfin tuna catch was reduced by 15% as a conservation measure against overfishing. The intergovernmental organisation responsible for the management of tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean wrote that the harvest control rules are not expected to be permanent.

Source: AllAfrica, November 25, 2017

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