Ministry strengthens the monitoring of fishing operations at sea

Solomon Islands Government (SIG) through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) is taking the lead at the PNA (Parties to the Nauru Agreement) level in its fight against Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU), especially monitoring on Long Line (LL) and Purse Seine (PS) fishing vessels.

Solomon Islands in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) did a trial in 2016 with the installation of 4 LL vessels with Electronic Monitoring Systems (EMS). Based on that trial, EMS has been proven to be an effective Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) tool that can complement human observer coverage on LL vessels. Unlike PS vessels, where we have 100% coverage of human observers, LL only has a minimum 5% coverage of human observers as required by the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

A further trial was supported by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2017 until now, with the installations of eight (8) LL vessels with EMS. The trial further proves the capabilities of EMS as a complementary MCS tool for LL vessels, and becomes our eyes at sea, where monitoring of all fishing activities are 24/7 and port to port.

Solomon Islands currently participates in the Pacific Regional Oceanscape Programme (PROP) which is funded by the World Bank. The programme provides support for our Oceanic and the Offshore fisheries under component 1: Sustainable management of Oceanic fisheries, where the Ministry is mandated to manage and develop sustainable tuna fisheries.

Through the support of PROP, the Ministry has been able to further secure support and funding, whereby a contract agreement has been signed with SATLINK as the service provider. Under the contract, it is anticipated that 9 LL fishing vessels will be installed with EMS before end of May 2020 and we also anticipate to include more installation later on in the year 2020.

MFMR would like to thank the following partners; World Bank, TNC, FFA, SPC, PNAO, Satlink and other stakeholders for the support provided that help strengthens its MCS on combating IUU fishing activities in Solomon waters and the region. Furthermore, the Ministry also acknowledge the cooperation and the support of the Fishing Industry as we endeavour to develop the EMS programme.