20 March 2015

Illegal Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishers who have landed catch and resupplied their vessels in South East Asia are feeling the squeeze as South East Asian countries rapidly build capacity in inspection capability and information sharing.

As part of building this capacity AFMA was invited and funded by Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to deliver training as part of a workshop on port state measures, vessel inspections and enforcement measures.

Attendees included representatives from 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries including Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The five day workshop covered the implementation of port state measures, Regional Fisheries Management Organisation’s compliance requirements and Monitoring, Control & Surveillance (MCS) techniques such as vessel inspection procedures including freezer and cold room inspections, volumetrics, interviewing techniques and species identification.

The capacity building training delivered by AFMA, and in particular the close working relationships developed between countries during these (and previous) workshops, have been instrumental in combatting and coordinating the fight against IUU fishing in the South East Asian region. In particular Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia have all taken enforcement action against a number of IUU vessels identified by Australia as having contravened Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources conservation measures.

Enforcement action has included denying access by IUU vessels to their ports, denying resupply or catch landing services and prosecution for offences such as falsifying paperwork. In addition evidence on nationals engaged in IUU fishing has been gathered and forwarded to those countries that have laws against their nationals engaging in IUU fishing (to date Spain has successfully prosecuted on evidence supplied).

Participation by the ASEAN representatives was excellent, and all were keen to share their own experiences and continue to work together to combat illegal fishing.