In Rome for the COFI side event on the new FAO Atlas of fishing effort
The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) celebrated last week its 33rd session at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. Delegates from most countries in the world participate in the COFI intergovernmental forum that discusses the main issues and problems in fisheries and aquaculture, with the aim of proposing recommendations to governments and regional fishing organizations, and to all stakeholders involved in the the sector. During the week, a series of side events are programmed directed at advancing knowledge and sharing current practice, including special events on illegal fishing, blue growth, climate change or small-scale fisheries.
Since the advances of satellite tracking of fishing vessels through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology, developed by Global Fishing Watch, new research has come out on its application to understand illegal fishing, fishing in the high seas, or the possibilities for fishing activity transparency. FAO has commissioned a AIS-based Atlas of fishing effort to AZTI and the Seychelles fishing Authority, and the preliminary results have been presented at a COFI Side Event last friday. The Atlas compares fishing effort estimated from AIS and Global Fishing Watch to other technologies (such as countries VMS) to understand the potential and limitations of using this transmission mechanism (which is born for safety operating in the seas) to understand fishing activity. Preliminary results showed that this technology is promising for large vessels that operate with long-line and purse seine and don’t switch gear. Hilario Murua and Jose A. Fernandes from AZTI (Pasaia, Spain) presented the preliminary work of an Atlas that will be published in the upcoming months.
Elena Ojea participated as invited member in a panel of experts on research, policy and the industry. The panel debated over the applications of this Atlas. The main topics covered where the need for understanding the switch off behavior of vessels, the trade offs between transparency of the data of fishing vessel activity and revealing the fishers strategy, and the incentives that fishing vessels and countries need in order to commit to transparency. From our work in FOL and experience with this technology, we pointed that the FAO Atlas would be a very useful source of fishing effort data and fisher’s behavior that, after some years for a time series, will be very useful for understanding climate change mitigation and adaptation.
CATEGORIES: Collaborations, Conferences, Elena Ojea