Coral Triangle Fishers Forum III
Early in July, Sea Delight representative Stephen Fisher attended the Coral Triangle Fishers Forum III, held in Iloilo City, Philippines. The subject of the Forum was “Sustainable Coastal Fisheries through Local Innovation: Scaling up Effective Models for IUU Reduction, Catch Documentation and Traceability in Support of Sustainable Local Fisheries” Production.” Present at the Forum were delegations from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Indonesia.
As one of the invited speakers Fisher helped get the Forum started with a presentation on using technology to combat IUU fishing. The short presentation explored examples from 2 Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) Sea Delight has been involved with.
The first FIP example came from the Vietnam Yellowfin Tuna FIP. The technology being used is very simple; basic tools to improve the onboard handling of tuna. But the innovative way this simple technology is distributed and the support given to the fishing communities employing it is unique. Sea Delight tuna supplier and key partner in Vietnam, Thinh Hung Co., with the assistance of local tuna brokers, organizes meetings of tuna vessel owners, fishers and community members. The fishers are invited to join a new fishers group and in exchange receive free training on how to improve the quality of the tuna landed, along with the tools needed to accomplish this. By joining the group the fishers are automatically paid more for their tuna and the top 3 vessels receive cash prizes for the most and best quality fish. This program also helps reduce the problem of unreported or underreported catch by forming a forum where onboard logbook orientation and fishery improvement training can occur.
The second example was from a bottomfish fishery in Indonesia. One of the FIP Work Plan tasks in this fishery was to help fight illegal explosive and cyanide fishing in the area. Since there was no cell phone signal in most areas, communication was one of the main barriers to reporting illegal activities. To overcome this, a GPS satellite communication device was tested. Called a SPOT tracker the device could show a vessel’s real-time location on a Google map, and 3 types of message. In trials it showed great potential to be an effective anti-IUU tool, given prompt response by local authorities.
The second day of the forum opened with presentations on regional FIPS, catch documentation schemes (CDS) and technology for fishery management in small scale fisheries. Some of the most interesting presentations came from WWF Philippines and from Vietnamese NGO VINATUNA.
The Philippines presentation was about small handline fisheries for yellowfin tuna on the islands of Mindoro and the Bicol region of Luzon. The FIPs are making innovative use of an Android-based Catch Documentation System and solar powered GPS vessel tracking devices. The FIP is getting great support from the Philippine Government and local communities as well.
The Vietnam presentation was about the development and implementation of a national standard traceability code and system for the Vietnam hook and line tuna fishery. The system is now in the early stages of implementation and testing. VINATUNA partners with Sea Delight on FIP Work Plan tasks being done by Sea Delight as a member of the Vietnam Tuna FIP.
The second half of day 2 was highlighted by demonstrations of fishery management technology systems by the manufacturers followed by a “technology marketplace” where the actual hardware and systems were shown in booths. This allowed forum participants to actually see the technology available and talk to the presenters. The solar-powered GPS vessel tracking systems may be of interest to Sea Delight in future FIP work. Of course, any such future work will be reported here.