COFI 35 endorses Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment

By Stop Illegal Fishing:16th Sep, 2022:

The 35th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) took place in Rome, Italy the 5 to 9 September 2022. A particular focus of COFI 35 was the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment, which have been developed in response to the growing recognition of transshipment as a potential facilitator of illegal fishing and a means for illegally caught fish to enter the supply chain

The objective of the Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment is to assist States, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), and other intergovernmental organizations by providing standards for developing their policies and regulations that govern transshipment, with a view to integrating these in the regulatory framework for sustainable fisheries management.

“These Guidelines aim to regulate, monitor and control transshipment to support sustainable fisheries and further close loopholes that enable fish derived from IUU fishing to enter the market,” stated Audun Lem, Deputy-Director of FAO’s fisheries and aquaculture division.

Under the Guidelines, it is recommended that States and RFMOs should:

  • Ensure that vessels involved in transshipments are authorised by the relevant flag, coastal or port State and that vessels notify the relevant authorities before conducting any type of transshipment.
  • Adopt transparent reporting procedures to facilitate the verification of authorisations and transshipment data, allowing for effective monitoring, control and surveillance actions.
  • Ensure that all vessels involved in transshipments provide a declaration containing specific data about the quantities of fish, the species and any bycatch.
  • Share transshipment data such as vessel lists, notifications, authorisations and declarations, observer and inspections reports, infractions and sanctions.
  • Establish reporting procedures to collect and cross-reference information on the quantity of fish landed by species, product form, area, and country of origin for processed fish.

Commenting on the Guidelines, Madagascar’s Minister of Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Dr Paubert Mahatante Tsimanaoraty, said, “Madagascar endorses the proposed Voluntary Guidelines for Transhipment, and we note that we would like these to be implemented in a manner that also improves both the understanding and the monitoring of transhipment in all fisheries, irrelevant of vessel size or flag or which species are being caught and that implementation does not only focus on industrial fisheries.”

Sandy Davies, Stop Illegal Fishing, commented, “At present there is a focus that draws MCS effort away from monitoring fish and fisheries that provide food and nutrition for the people of Africa, and places this effort on monitoring the fish destined primarily for export – the low volume, high value fish that is not feeding Africa. This needs to change – we need to rethink our policies and our focus and ensure that our own African interests are equally protected.”

Recent Posts

COFI 35 advances international efforts to combat illegal fishing

The 35th session of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Fisheries...

Read More...

Nigeria becomes party to FAO Agreement on Port State Measures

Nigeria has become the latest country to become party to the 2009 Food...

Read More...

Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the PSMA

08 May 2023 to 12 May 2023 Indonesia The Fourth Meeting of the...

Read More...

COFI 35 endorses Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment

The 35th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Fisheries...

Read More...

SIF News Categories

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

Read More...

Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...

Recent Posts

COFI 35 advances international efforts to combat illegal fishing

The 35th session of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Fisheries...

Read More...

Nigeria becomes party to FAO Agreement on Port State Measures

Nigeria has become the latest country to become party to the 2009 Food...

Read More...

Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the PSMA

08 May 2023 to 12 May 2023 Indonesia The Fourth Meeting of the...

Read More...