Joint patrol of Blue Fin Tuna in its fourth year –

Joint patrol of Blue Fin Tuna in its fourth year Published:  25 May, 2011

FOR the fourth year, the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) is coordinating the Joint Deployment Plan (JDP) for the Blue Fin Tuna fishery in the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic waters for 2011.

Under this JDP, Member States pool their control and inspection means, both material and human, in order to carry out jointly control, inspection and surveillance of fishery activities both at sea and ashore. All these activities are coordinated by a team of national coordinators based in the premises of the CFCA. The plan bringing together the European Commission, Member States and the CFCA, counts on the resources of the seven Member States involved in the fishery – Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain – as well as an EU inspection vessel chartered by the CFCA and covers all stages in the market chain. Inspection and surveillance at sea is carried both in EU waters and international waters and applies to EU and non-EU vessels.

Before the first bluefin tuna Joint Deployment Plan in 2008, control, inspection and surveillance activities carried out separately by each of the Member States concerned were not well coordinated and not evenly spread over the different fleets targeting bluefin tuna. Since then, there have been three JDPs in the Mediterranean, with very positive results. In them, national inspectors from Member States involved in the fishery are on duty during all the control campaign. This year, the CFCA will participate with its new EU inspection vessel for the control campaign, the Tyr, which, together with the Member States means, will enhance the inspection activities in the area. The EU offers this vessel, for enhancing cooperation with other Mediterranean states involved in the bluefin tuna fishery.

The joint control, inspection and surveillance activities carried out under the JDP are coordinated by a special Technical Joint Deployment Group (TJDG) consisting of national coordinators which is based in the CFCA premises in Vigo as from 1 May 2011 and will remain operational until the end of November. The TJDG is supported by the CFCA’s own coordinators. The TJDG decides both the overall inspection and surveillance strategy and issues daily recommendations for control, inspection and surveillance activities by national and EU means, on the basis of the daily data and information received by national enforcement authorities and from ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna), in particular VMS data (Vessel Monitoring System, a satellite based control system) and catch information.

In 2011, Member States and the CFCA will mobilise 22 vessels and 9 aerial patrols to ensure that the Blue Fin Tuna recovery plan is respected. In total, 232 days of sea activity, 150 days of ashore activity and 198 flight hours are scheduled to take place throughout the campaign.

At its annual meeting (Paris, November 2010) ICCAT adopted a recommendation amending the recovery plan, with a special focus in reinforcing the provisions regarding transfer and caging operations. The European Union is committed to implement the new provisions already throughout the 2011 fishing season. These provisions include testing of an improved methodology to determine the quantities transferred to cages in which bluefin tuna is retained. 
”The Joint Deployment Plan ensures a uniform and effective control of all fishing vessels (EU and third country vessels) participating in the bluefin fishery in the Mediterranean. It has also very successful in brokering cooperation between all national services involved in control, inspection and surveillance. As a result, control of the bluefin tuna fishery has been effective, and this year, with the anticipated application of the new ICCAT rules, we will test improved control methods for the future,” said Harm Koster, Executive Director of the CFCA.