Electronic Monitoring Programs for Global Fisheries

Electronic Monitoring Programs for Global Fisheries
fishing boat at sunrise
iStockphoto

Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) are responsible for overseeing commercial fishing in more than 95% of the world’s ocean. Managers must be able to track data on catch and vessel activity to ensure that fishing is sustainable, but such monitoring is difficult when vessels operate far from shore, beyond the reach and view of authorities.

Many RFMOs require observers onboard some types of vessels, but fisheries managers, scientists, and other stakeholders increasingly recognize the need to expand coverage to all vessels to more accurately assess catch, bycatch, fishing effort, and compliance with regulations. Electronic monitoring (EM) programs offer a way to complement human observer coverage and expand oversight to fleets that are not independently monitored.

These fact sheets and other resources are designed to help RFMOs and interested stakeholders create effective EM programs that will improve oversight of international fisheries while increasing transparency and accountability.

Surveillance cameras
Surveillance cameras
Article

Pandemic Response Highlights Need to Expand Electronic Monitoring

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Article

In response to the global spread of COVID-19, several regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) have suspended the requirement that vessels fishing in their waters have independent observers onboard. RFMOs—multinational bodies that oversee many of the fisheries on the high seas—took the step to limit the potential exposure of fishers, observers, and inspectors to the virus.

High Seas
High Seas
Issue Brief

Electronic Monitoring: A Key Tool for Global Fisheries

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Issue Brief

Each year, thousands of commercial fishing vessels ply the world’s high seas, hauling in catch ranging from sardines to giant tunas. In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, vessels operating in these areas beyond national jurisdiction caught 4.4 million metric tons of fish, valued at $7.6 billion.

Article

For Global Tuna Industry, COVID-19 Complicates Long-Standing Challenges

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Article

The global tuna fishing industry is among the many sectors enduring major impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Tunas hold enormous cultural, ecological and economic significance around the world and thus must be managed sustainably, which is why the United Nations designated 2 May as World Tuna Day.

Video: Electronic Monitoring Programs Can Improve Fisheries Oversight