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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 07 Number 69 | Thursday, 26 May 2016


UNFSA Review Highlights

Wednesday, 25 May 2016 | UN Headquarters, New York


Languages: EN (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from UN Headquarters, New York at: http://enb.iisd.org/oceans/review-fish-stocks/2016/

Participants at the Resumed Review Conference met on Wednesday at the UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates continued their discussion on the review of the implementation of the recommendations adopted at the 2006 and 2010 meetings, including on MCS and compliance and enforcement and on developing states and non-parties. Participants also discussed the issues of labor conditions and the avoidance of the transfer of a disproportionate burden of conservation action to developing states.

REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS RELATING TO MCS AND COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT

Strengthening effective control over vessels and Assessment of flag state performance: NORWAY, supported by the EU, AUSTRALIA and the US, recommended strengthening national legislation to address stateless vessels. CHILE described domestic legislation criminalizing IUU fishing activities across the full chain of operators.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA shared their experience enhancing flag state responsibilities. FIJI underscored strengthening national vessels registers with harmonized registration criteria.

JAPAN, supported by the US, highlighted UNFSA Article 6.6 on the precautionary approach to new and exploratory fisheries.

INDONESIA underscored the link between IUU fishing and transnational organized crime. The MARSHALL ISLANDS proposed ‘port-to-port’ MCS systems.

Participation in the PSMA: The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, the US, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, the EU, ICELAND, INDONESIA, CHILE, and the PHILIPPINES urged full implementation of the PSMA, suggesting assistance to developing states could help support increased implementation.

The US, supported by NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, ICELAND, and the EU, called for full participation in the PSMA. The US, the EU and CHILE highlighted the value of adopting port state measures at the RFMO level.

The EU, supported by CHILE, stressed that PSMA sets minimum standards for parties and non-parties.

FAO drew attention to its global programme on capacity development, reporting on efforts to strengthen national legislation, MCS and market-related measures.​

Control over fishing activities of nationals: The PHILIPPINES stressed that tackling IUU fishing requires taking action against nationals, including vessel owners. KENYA recommended applying sanctions to vessel owners. The EU urged penalties with deterrent effects, informing that Spain imposed penalties of nearly €17 million and disqualifications from fishing activities ranging from 5 to 23 years.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed the need for sufficient information and evidence to prosecute cases. CHILE stressed the importance of cooperation on information.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, AUSTRALIA, CHILE, and the PHILIPPINES shared their national strategies and legislation to address this issue.

Strengthening compliance, cooperation and enforcement schemes in RFMOs and Alternative mechanisms for compliance and enforcement in RFMOs: The US recommended sharing best practices in MCS and other mechanisms. Several, including the US, the EU, AUSTRALIA, and NEW ZEALAND, called for information sharing among RFMOs on IUU fishing. The EU and INDONESIA underscored the importance of effective penalties for enhancing enforcement. The MARSHALL ISLANDS stressed that domestic laws of coastal states should take priority in IUU fishing enforcement. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) has achieved zero IUU fishing levels due to cooperation and surveillance.

ICCAT pointed to the Consolidated List of Authorized Vessels. NEAFC highlighted their upcoming electronic reporting system. GREENPEACE requested compliance committees formally consider civil society submissions.

On alternative mechanisms, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA recommended using new and emerging technologies. The EU supported sharing surveillance information between coastal and flag states.

On boarding and inspection, CHILE urged joint RFMO efforts. BRAZIL lamented unfair targeting of developing over developed country vessels.

Regulation of trans-shipment, supply and refueling vessels: FIJI, supported by the EU and NEW ZEALAND, called for continued studies on trans-shipment trends.

The EU supported a general prohibition of trans-shipment at sea, but, where trans-shipment is necessary, urged rigorous rules, including full observer coverage and prior notification.

JAPAN, with the EU, suggested that only registered carriers be allowed to conduct trans-shipment and that all RFMOs introduce trans-shipment measures and share registry information.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for international standards and reporting requirements.

The MARSHALL ISLANDS, supported by NEW ZEALAND, recommended increasing the number of observers for longliners and trans-shipment on the high seas.

NAURU highlighted additional economic opportunities when trans-shipment occurs in ports.

GREENPEACE urged restricting trans-shipment to designated areas and ports, with real time reporting.

Strengthening fisheries access agreements: The EU highlighted its: support to countries to develop their own fisheries; adherence to human rights; and commitment to fishing efforts based on scientific evidence. NORWAY called for referencing the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance.

GREENPEACE reported RFMO progress in requiring members’ transparency over fisheries access agreements, urging similar efforts for charter agreements.

Market-related measures: CANADA proposed encouraging completion of work on catch documentation schemes (CDS) and called for consistency between market-based measures adopted by individual states and by RFMOs. JAPAN encouraged expanded CDS use by RFMOs. ICELAND urged designing and implementing CDS based on risk-based analysis.

ICELAND, NORWAY, the US, CHILE, and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION said measures should be consistent with WTO rules.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA urged further promotion of market-based mechanisms, including price premiums. The US, the EU and CHILE underscored engaging consumers.

FIJI cautioned on the risks of catch mixing when fish is landed outside flag states. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION outlined their generalized traceability procedure for marine products. ICCAT highlighted the electronic-CDS for Atlantic bluefin tuna.

International MCS Network for Fisheries-Related Activities: NEW ZEALAND reported on hosting the IMCS Network Workshop in March 2016, urging broader state participation. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, FSM, the EU, the US, and CHILE acknowledged the Network’s potential in controlling and monitoring IUU fishing. FIJI said it is working to raise awareness on threats from IUU fishing among SIDS through Interpol’s networks.

FAO highlighted the Workshop’s recommendation to develop a risk assessment framework for IUU fishing, adding that the meeting outputs would be presented at the 32nd Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI 32).

FAO Compliance Agreement and global record of fishing vessels: On the global record, FAO explained flag states should provide vessel information; in the absence of such information, International Maritime Organization (IMO) information may be used. He said the global record aims to be dynamic and include the vessel’s compliance history, which he stressed could support PSMA implementation. He informed that FAO will present a pilot version to COFI 32.

Delegates, including the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, the EU, and the US, welcomed progress on the global record, with the EU stressing it as a key tool to sustainably manage capacity and combat IUU fishing. The US recommended that all fishing vessels have an IMO number. ICCAT highlighted its consolidated list of vessels.

On the compliance agreement, the EU, supported by the US, encouraged states to become parties to the compliance Agreement.

REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS RELATING TO DEVELOPING STATES AND NON-PARTIES

Promotion of wider participation in the Agreement: The EU, supported by the US, suggested an ICSP to examine the reasons for non-participation.

CHILE noted past challenges with the principle of compatibility when his region lacked an RFMO. Hecalled for RFMO members to become parties to UNFSA. Noting 43 RFMO members are not parties to UNFSA, NORWAY suggested approaching them to promote participation.

BARBADOS suggested a meeting of developing state parties to share concerns and best practices and identify implementation needs.

FAO proposed promoting participation through its capacity development programmes.

Enhancement of the participation of developing states in RFMOs: BARBADOS lamented a lack of funds to attend RFMO meetings, leading to developing states’ exclusion. The MARSHALL ISLANDS noted constraints in acceptance of national fisheries management measures at RFMO level. FIJI highlighted disproportionate burdens on developing states, including limitations on flag state vessel numbers, which he said limits development of states’ fisheries.

Cooperation with, assistance to, and capacity building needs of developing states: FIJI stressed capacity building is not a one-size-fits-all issue. BRAZIL supporting enhancing the capacity of developing states to exploit fisheries resources in a manner consistent with conservation and sustainable management.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA drew attention to development of a tertiary fisheries education center and curricula on fisheries development.

Capacity-building mechanisms and programmes, including the Assistance Fund: FAO urged developing state parties to make broader use of the Assistance Fund. He called on RFMOs and RFBs to generate ideas and initiatives for using the Fund.

ICCAT highlighted its fund, which supports developing states parties and requested increased communication on party support from the Assistance Fund.

Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, UNDOALOS Director, highlighted: one possible use of the Fund for dispute settlement procedures is not included in the 2006 meeting document; and the Fund’s current depleted state does not allow for broader uses beyond meeting attendance.

BRAZIL called for wider interpretation of Part VII (requirements of developing states), including for enhancing developing states’ participation in high seas fisheries. NORWAY encouraged further contributions to the Fund, and, with BRAZIL, supported a broader utilization of the Fund.  

The US encouraged coordination among different funding mechanisms of RFMOs, FAO and bilateral programmes.

Small-scale and artisanal fishers, women fishworkers and indigenous peoples in developing states: The EU suggested acknowledgment of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries and their implementation as appropriate.

PRESENTATION OF THE REPORT OF THE ICSP-12

Labor conditions: President Hazin noted this Resumed Review Conference is the first to address labor conditions and human rights issues of high sea fleets, with some questioning UNFSA’s mandate on labor.

NORWAY urged ratification of ILO Work in Fishing Convention. The US, the EU and Fiji said flag states should be held accountable to labor conditions of fishing fleets. The EU emphasized the link to SDG 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all). FAO said the entry into force of the PSMA offers an opportunity for countries to inspect working conditions on vessels.

President Hazin confirmed that a new recommendation will be developed on the issue.

Avoidance of the transfer of a disproportionate burden of conservation action to developing states: NAURU, on behalf of Pacific SIDS, recognized that the concept of disproportionate burden is often qualitative and difficult to quantify but stressed certain types of disproportionate burden are easy to identify. She recommended using the WCPFC’s Conservation and Management Measures (CMM) 2013-06 as a starting point for addressing the issue.

The US, supported by the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, the EU and CANADA, stressed the need to define disproportionate burden for states to reliably address or avoid it. BRAZIL called for a fair mechanism for allocation of fishing possibilities that takes into account developing states’ rights to sustainably develop their fishing capacity.

IN THE CORRIDORS

The spotlight shone on FAO during Wednesday’s session, with the agenda featuring several topics related to FAO’s past and current work on fisheries, leading one delegate to say FAO has “played a fabulous role in many areas and done a splendid job.” Participants widely attributed progress on the UNFSA to FAO’s complementary role, including its tools and instruments like the PSMA, the Guidelines of Flag States Responsibilities and the Voluntary Guidelines for Small Scale Fisheries. Others pointed to FAO’s capacity building work with developing countries and its initiatives on MCS, compliance and enforcement. Still, some stressed the strength of FAO’s instruments lies in ongoing collaboration between FAO and the broader UN family in achieving UNFSA’s objective.

Meanwhile, the Bureau’s work continued behind the scenes, with President Hazin inviting Bureau members to join him for a “very lively and fun night” drafting the negotiated outcome document. Insiders said Bureau meetings were adjourning at the “reasonable hour” of 11 pm; however, Thursday morning’s 9 am start may mean some tired Bureau members as participants begin discussing the document on their penultimate day.