In November 2005, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas adopted the Recommendation by ICCAT Establishing a Programme for Transhipment by Large-Scale Pelagic Longline Fishing Vessels (LSPLVs) [Rec. 05-06], which required, inter alia, the implementation of an ICCAT Regional Observer Programme. The Observer Programme is one of ICCAT Members initiatives to combat and deter IUU activity. The Recommendation was updated in 2012 to include LSPLV inspections in line with IOTC protocols [Rec. 12-06].
The specific objectives of this contract are to monitor transhipments at sea between LSPLVs and Carrier Vessels (CVs) through placing observers on the CVs. Observers verify the identity of the transhipping LSTLV and check its compliance with a number of key ICCAT Recommendations. They are then required to monitor the transhipment itself, giving an independent estimate of the weight and species transferred. Records are collated into a database and observers submit these, along with a report, upon completion of their monitoring activities. The outputs are reviewed by the Consortium and submitted to the ICCAT Secretariat.
MRAG and CapFish, acting as a consortium, designed the monitoring protocols and the training for programme and are responsible for the selection, training and placing of observers onboard the CVs. All equipment, logistical services and insurance are provided by the Consortium.