MRAG has a wide experience of designing and implementing fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance programmes as well as providing research into issues regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This experience includes providing technical advice to governments and regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) (e.g. Advice to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) on implementation of a centralised vessel monitoring system and observer programmes), training (e.g. training courses in the planning and implementation of national MCS plans for Pacific Island States), analysis (ref: Agnew at al. 2009, Hoshino, Hillary and Pearce, 2010) and practical implementation (e.g. provision of fisheries officers for UK Overseas Territories and forensic analysis of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) for licensing approval).
MRAG has designed and implemented both scientific and compliance focussed fishery observer programmes in the Southern Ocean (South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, the Ross Sea and Bouvet Island), central western Indian Ocean (British Indian Ocean Territory), the northwest Atlantic (North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation Regulatory Area), the Mediterranean (ICCAT bluefin tuna (BFT) programme) and in European Union waters, along with large scale transhipment ocean-wide observer programmes for ICCAT, IOTC and CCSBT. The size and scope of these programmes has ranged from the supply of an individual observer on a scientific vessel, to servicing a fleet of a large number of offshore vessels and farms, requiring substantial logistic support and management. We also provide independent reviews of observer programmes including the largest in the world, the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Programme off the coast of Alaska.
MRAG also manage and provide advice on the use of high-tech solutions for MCS, such as VMS, satellite monitoring, vessel mounted video systems and other cutting edge innovative solutions that can be added to the MCS toolkit employed by fisheries managers.
MRAG can provide a complete end-to-end MCS service including:
- MCS advice and programme development;
- Observer programme development and recruitment;
- Training of observers and MCS staff;
- Research into IUU and MCS;
- Programme review and monitoring;
- Development of technical manuals specific to a fishery;
- Data collection and handling including database design and management;
- Data analysis and report production;
- Logistics and technical support.