France calls for strong collaboration to combat IUU

by Pita Ligaiula | 12 December 2018 | News

Blue boats apprehended by the Solomon Islands Royal Police. Credit: FFA

HONOLULU, 12 DECEMBER 2018 (PACNEWS)—-France has called on Pacific and Atlantic tuna organisations to join forces in the fight against Illegal Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.  

Matthieu Le Quenven from French Maritime Affairs said France strongly supported the harmonisation of management and controls between the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that manages the world’s largest tuna fishery to work with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC ).

“In particular we intend to maintain a high standard of control at sea and dock-side monitoring,” LeQuenven said.

“We also call for harmonisation of the High Seas boarding inspection between WCPFC and IATTC to make something more effective and fair to fight against IUU fishing operation in an area under permanent fishing pressure,” he said.

However, Le Quenven said France was concerned about the management of the Eastern High Seas Pocket, the ambiguities about its geographical configuration and the lack of joint data available to neighbouring territories.

 “I think the time has come to act for better monitoring of fishing activity in this zone,” Le Quenven said

“A direct transmission of VMS (Vessel Monitoring System) to the Cook Islands, Kiribati and French Polynesia and to the WCPFC will seem to be an excellent way to allow good level of monitoring in this area to which we pay great attention and is charged with ensuring that the species under its jurisdiction, including commercially valuable tropical tunas, are sustainably managed.”

He told the 15th Regular Session of the WCPFC that France had drafted a letter regarding the overlap area to the WCPFC and the IATTC to indicate that it would  favour WCPFC regulations during the next three years.

“This choice will be motivated by a strong concern for clarification of the strong conservation and management regime applicable to French Polynesia’s vessels in the waters of the Shared Management Zone,” Le Quenven said.

“This legal clarification is not intended to call into question France’s participation in the IATTC nor with respect to our commitments to this regional fisheries management organisation.”

 He said Fish Aggregating Device management was also a matter of concern.

“Even if new technical measures limit the impact, FADs are not subject of a significant reduction proposal this year despite the fact that data at our disposal seems to show that the break-even point will be around 120 buoys for the biggest fishing vessel,” LeQuenven said.

He also raised concerns on Blue Boats entering French territory and fishing illegally in the New Caledonia waters.

” The continuity of new boatsl ast year in New Caledonia we regret to see again too many incursions in our EEZ in violation of our laws – no VMS, no declaration of entrance or exit in our ports, fishing gear or any suspicious objects alongside fishing vessels without authorization,” Le Quenven said

Blue boats are typically highly economical wooden vessels operating out of Vietnam and Indonesia involved in poaching activities targeting beche de mer, clams, abalone and some coastal fish.

Most of these situations could be easily resolved by a single VHF contact in accordance with IMO Resolution A703″, he said…. PACNEWS