On 06 July 2020 the North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) hosted a virtual workshop on monitoring, control and enforcement of the Landing Obligation in collaboration with the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the North Western Waters Member States’ Control Expert Group (CEG).
Members of the Advisory Council were joined by representatives from the European Commission, ICES, the Marine Institute, and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority Ireland (SFPA) to discuss achievements and challenges of the monitoring, control and enforcement of the Landing Obligation for the demersal fisheries in the North Western Waters.
The European Commission emphasised that control is essential for the successful implementation of the Landing Obligation. Conventional control can only provide a snapshot of the situation and Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) has shown to be the most effective way of providing a control solution to a variety of problems.
However, REM is not just CCTV, and the SFPA is investigating monitoring alternatives, for example sensors, after they received no response to their efforts at running CCTV trials with the Irish fishing fleet. The Commission pointed at the responsibility for all the EU Member States to control all the aspects of the Common Fisheries Policy and the necessary Data Collection.
EFCA advised that its guidelines on the use of REM have been published.
NWWAC members strongly believe that there needs to be full and transparent monitoring of the Landing Obligation, but that the key issue is to identify high-risk and very high-risk vessels. The monitoring and control tools, which range from observers to CCTV, to VMS, also need to be evaluated in terms of their appropriateness and their cost-effectiveness. There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach.
The members of the Advisory Council greatly appreciated the confirmation by EFCA and the Irish CEG Chair that they will actively participate in the next meeting of the NWWAC Focus Group Control & Compliance. That will be the origin of the NWWAC advice on the monitoring, control and enforcement of the Landing Obligation and of the follow up of its advice on the revision of the EU Fisheries Control Regulation.