Experts Propose Enforcement and Reporting Improvements for Regional Fisheries Management Organizations

Pew-hosted workshop series addresses challenges of strengthening compliance mechanisms

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Experts Propose Enforcement and Reporting Improvements for Regional Fisheries Management Organizations

Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) are collectively responsible for managing more than 100 fish stocks around the world. But the sustainability of these stocks and the health of the world’s marine ecosystem are threatened if RFMO members do not comply with relevant conservation and management mandates.

In the past decade, regulatory experts have reviewed existing compliance measures and provided targeted recommendations to ensure compliance with regional obligations, but further work is necessary to ensure better performance in this area across all RFMOs.

To assess and support better compliance within the RFMO framework, The Pew Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and other stakeholders, is hosting a series of workshops. The goal of these workshops is to develop and build support for steps RFMOs should take to improve compliance outcomes and to better assist member governments in complying with the rules agreed to by these RFMOs. These workshops bring together experts from a broad spectrum of regulatory bodies, international organizations, and academia to help identify challenges in RFMO compliance processes and suggest solutions for addressing them.

The final report from the first virtual workshop, which was held Sept. 8-11, 2020, outlines potential best practices for RFMO compliance committees by defining key challenges in existing compliance processes and options to address them. One of the primary messages that emerged from the first workshop was that RFMO compliance would be accelerated by implementing clearer rules for issues such as reporting time spent fishing within a specific area and quantity of catch, including both target and nontarget catch, and greater consequences for those countries whose fleets do not to adhere to the rules. There was also support for building capacity in countries to assist them in their efforts to comply.

A second workshop, focused on increasing transparency in RFMO compliance regimes, was held March 15-18, 2021. A report from the outcomes of that workshop is expected to be finalized by early June.