To Improve Fisheries Management, Governments Share Experiences With Electronic Monitoring

PEW Charitable Trust

At any moment, thousands of fishing vessels are scattered across the world’s ocean in pursuit of catch. Knowing who’s catching what fish, where, and when is critical to fisheries managers, who are trying to ensure sustainable fish populations far into the future. For decades this data was gathered through a variety of means, including on-board observers, many of whom have been sidelined during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now electronic monitoring (EM) promises to augment those observers and help fleets worldwide keep and report better data, as well as increase accountability across the fishing sector.

Four tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and their 133 member countries are drafting EM standards, but unfortunately much of this work is occurring independently, with little information sharing among the RFMOs. To help encourage information exchange on lessons from various countries’ EM trials, The Pew Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with the South Korean government and the civic group Citizens’ Institute for Environmental Studies, has been hosting a series of annual EM seminars to promote information sharing, discuss ways to overcome barriers to EM adoption, and help catalyze EM implementation at the domestic and international levels. The latest seminar on Oct. 6 drew 50 participants, including representatives from governments and nongovernmental organizations from Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, and the United States.

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