ISSF 2015-11: Combating IUU Fishing. Improvement and Best Practices for IUU Vessel Listing Measures in Tuna RFMOs*

Date added July 27, 2015
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Category Technical and Meeting Reports, Technical Reports
Author(s) Claire van der Geest


To strengthen its efforts to combat IUU fishing activities, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) requested a review the IUU Vessel Listing measures in regional fisheries management organisations responsible for tuna management (t-RFMOs). The purpose of the review was to identify deficiencies and weaknesses in the current IUU listing procedures and develop guidance on best practices to support and strengthen efforts for the conservation and management of tuna resources.

Overall, the t-RFMOs IUU Vessel Listing measures are largely consistent, particularly the measures adopted more recently. However there are a number of differences between the measures as highlighted in the summary table of the t-RFMO IUU Vessel Listing measures (Appendix 2). A thorough analysis of the IUU Vessel Listing measures is provided at Part II.

Key differences include the application of the measures, the activities that constitute IUU fishing, the roles and responsibilities of the groups during the IUU Vessels Listing process, the extent of the use of intersessional decision-making powers and the range of punitive measures to be taken by t-RFMO members, flag States, port States and coastal States in respect of their own vessels and against the IUU listed vessel.

A range of recommendations regarding how to strengthen the IUU Vessel Listing measures are provided at Part III (commencing at page 27). Recommendations include standardising the way the measures are drafted to support harmonisation between the
t-RFMOs; having consistent activities that constitute IUU listing, information to support the listing and punitive measures; implementing a decision making process that removes the flag State from decisions regarding its own flag vessels; adopting an expanded range of admissible information and implementing rigorous cross-listing and intersessional processes.

The report also recognises the direct link between IUU vessel listing and the rigour of the other MCS measures adopted by t-RFMOs. The report recommends strengthening these supporting measures as a way of supporting IUU Vessel Listing, including for example, increasing VMS polling rates, strengthening compliance assessment processes for members and implementing responses for non-compliance, and increasing observer coverage.