The Fourth Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop
San José, Costa Rica
February 17-21, 2014
Protecting Artisanal and Regional Fisheries Communities
through the promotion of Legal, Reported and Regulated Fisheries
The biennial Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop (GFETW) is the trademark event of the International MCS Network in support of its overarching goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries-related MCS activities through enhanced cooperation, coordination, information collection and exchange among competent national organizations and institutions. The 1st GFETW was convened in Malaysia in 2005, and its success led to three subsequent Workshops, including the 4th GFETW, convened in San José, Costa Rica, February 17-21, 2014.
The 4th GFETW focused on the protection of artisanal and regional fishing communities through the promotion of legal, reported and regulated fisheries. Sustainable exploitation of living marine resources is essential for the livelihoods of communities dependent on fisheries. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing undermines the sustainable use, threatens marine ecosystems, and adversely affects food security. Many national laws reserve near-shore areas for local fishing communities, but developing countries have limited resources to devote to MCS and enforcement of fisheries laws to protect small-scale fisheries.
The main objectives of the 4th GFETW were to offer a global platform enabling MCS professionals:
- to become acquainted with their counterparts in other countries and to build trust in personal relationships;
- to promote sharing of information and exchange of experiences and best practices;
- to promote, where possible, initiation of operational cooperation between national fisheries enforcement authorities;
- to enhance understanding of relevant international measures, notably those adopted by FAO, and activities of international organizations such as INTERPOL and UN Office on Drugs and Crime; and
- to learn about new MCS technologies and strategies to combat IUU fishing activities.
The 4th GFETW included the announcement and celebration of the prize winners of the first-ever Stop IUU Fishing Award contest, which was launched in the margins of the 30th meeting of FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and sponsored by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).
Solutions, Especially for Small-Scale
Similar to previous Workshops, the 4th GFETW was highly successful in bringing together a global community of MCS professionals to meet each other face-to-face, to share information and experiences, and to receive training on a broad array of MCS topics. The 4th GFETW witnessed both cases where measures to stop IUU fishing were not working and cases where concrete progress in effectively combating IUU fishing activities had been achieved.
Whereas at the 2nd GFETW in Trondheim, Norway, the global tasks to combat IUU fishing appeared almost insurmountable, at the 4th GFETW, professionals reported real progress in implementing effective measures against IUU fishing through enhanced international cooperation in several regions.
A number of presentations delivered at the 4th GFETW emphasized that implementation of low-cost MCS solutions supported by fishers can contribute significantly to protect small-scale and artisanal fisheries. Participation and information-sharing were identified as key at both small-scale and regional levels, as was establishing trust—trust between fishers and government authorities and trust among various governments.
For artisanal fishers, systems that also improve their safety at sea help to incentivize their participation and build this critical trust. (See also: STOP IUU FISHING AWARD below)
The International MCS Network focuses in particular on enhancing cooperation with developing countries, and several presentations at the 4th GFETW pointed to the need to deploy additional efforts in developing countries in order to strengthen their capacities to implement effectively internationally agreed measures. These efforts should address governance, legislation and technical capacities (means and skills).
The 4th GFETW was co-sponsored by: Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture, OSPESCA, Conservation International, Marine Scotland, DEFRA (UK), International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, and the International MCS Network.