NATION

Longline Tuna Vessels to be Equipped with Surveillance Technology

Fishing vessels in the national longline fleet are being installed with surveillance technology and hardware in efforts to curb illegal fishing in the Pacific tuna industry. A Memorandum of Understanding,
23 Sep 2017 11:00
Longline Tuna Vessels to be Equipped with Surveillance Technology
Fiji and the Fiji Fishing Industry Association president Radhika Kumar (left), and Permanent Secretary for Fisheries Sanaila Naqali at the signing in Suva on September 22, 2017. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

Fishing vessels in the national longline fleet are being installed with surveillance technology and hardware in efforts to curb illegal fishing in the Pacific tuna industry.

A Memorandum of Understanding, signed yesterday between Fiji and the Fiji Fishing Industry Association in Suva, formalised the collaborative plans to implement Electronic Monitoring Systems (EMS) on local Tuna vessels.

Equipped with onboard cameras, 50 longliners in the national fleet will carry surveillance and data collection capabilities. The fleet has 95 vessels.

The equipment includes a 24/7 video recording system.

The region incurred an estimated annual loss of US$616 million (F$1.2 billion) from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing according to a Marine Resources Assessment Group 2016 report.

“It is a well-known fact that IUU fishing phenomenon in the capture of fisheries is not limited to the high seas but also within each country,” said Permanent Secretary for Fisheries Sanaila Naqali.

“This phenomenon is not only difficult to quantify in terms of the potential revenue lost to a country but more so the sustainability of a fishery for a large ocean state like Fiji.”

Representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations were also in attendance, accompanying other local Government officials at the signing.

President of FFIA Radhika Kumar said national pride depended on the success of the ongoing EMS project, which was initiated two years ago by the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association.

“This project has greatly enabled the captains to have a far better viewing of both the hauling and shooting process,” she said.

“From such viewing, it will allow us to develop better post-harvest strategies in managing the catch so that we can continue to attain optimal value.”

Fiji follows Ghana as the second country to test the EMS project.

Illegal fishing has come to the fore as a global environmental crime carrying monumental effects, aside from the loss in revenue.

Overfished species of fish that are in short supply demand higher prices on the global market, which is an incentive for pirate fishers.

Industry observers believe IUU occurs in most fisheries, and accounts for up to 30 per cent of total hauls.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

 



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