Bali, Indonesia 26 November 2015: The Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) will oppose any proposal for a separate Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) logbook being proposed by certain fishing nations to collect and report data on FADs.

PNA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Transform Aqorau said ahead of the Intersessional Working Group on FADs in Bali this week that they believe the same standards-based approach used for the provision of other fishery data, where the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) defined the fields to be collected and who is responsible for reporting them, should be used for FADs and Commission members should meet their reporting obligations in accordance with these standards.

"The PNA should be able to meet these obligations sufficiently through their iFIMs and FIMs electronic data system which is currently up and running," Dr Aqorau said, speaking of the electronic fisheries information management systems.

The Scientific Committee has already reviewed the data collected on FAD design and construction and agreed that it is adequate and none of the existing fields should be deleted.

"The PNA will support and propose that the IWG recommend that the responsibility for reporting of all FAD design and construction data should be transferred to the vessel operator and the flag state, but this means reporting on all the fields currently in the Regional Observer Programme’s Minimum Standards relating to FAD design and construction," Dr. Aqorau said.

"Similarly for data on FAD Deployment, Use and Loss, the vessel operator and the flag state should be responsible for reporting of FAD deployment, use and loss, and the observer should collect and report

data to verify FAD deployment, use and loss and recovery."

The IWG meeting in Bali this week November 27-28 is an important WCPFC component before the regular annual meeting of the Commission at the same venue to discuss two issues regarding FAD management:

a) Transferring responsibility for collecting and reporting data on FAD design and construction from observers to vessel operators and flag states; and

b) Whether it is worth having a WCPFC measure requiring physical marking of FADs when PNA is collecting data on FADs electronically.

At the same time the meeting will also look at how other regional fisheries management organisations (RFMO) have developed their own data collection systems. 

However, Dr Aqorau said the principle of compatibility with existing arrangements in EEZs is an important element of the WCPFC Convention and thus the existing iFIMs and FIMs system should be a top priority.

"A totally new system means more people, more work for the existing system and the question of who takes on the cost of this new system," he said.

"We have invested a lot of time and effort in our own system and I know that nations who use it will have a lot to say about it in the two day discussions."