The ROP-BFT is a regional observer programme monitoring bluefin tuna fishing and farming activities in the Mediterranean in response to ICCAT Recommendation 18/02 and others. The main goal of the programme is to verify the amount of tuna caught and transferred to farms in the region and monitor adherence to ICCAT regulations. This project sheet indicates the latest rollover of the contract in 2018, with MRAG holding this role for a number of previous annual bluefin fishing seasons.
MRAG (in consortium with Cofrepeche) has been responsible for all stages of the observer programme process, including the development and execution of a service delivery model to safely recruit, train and deploy 130+ observers on vessels and farms throughout the Mediterranean, with training delivered in multiple countries to maximise observer resources and coverage. Due to the temporal constraints of the fishing season, MRAG is also responsible for deploying all trained observers effectively within a 96 hour window. Following the deployment and return of fishing observers, MRAG and consortium partners are also required to assess the effectiveness of the observer programme in relation to its aims, providing recommendations and a continual reassessment and improvement mechanism for ICCAT in order to maximise fisheries compliance. MRAG also processes all data generated by the observers, providing rigorous data quality assurance in order to ensure that quantitative database outputs from the programme are sufficiently robust.