Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre world class in compliance

Monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) has been conducted in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries for 40 years.

The world-class Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) uses cutting-edge technology to provide up-to-the-minute information on fishing vessel movements and operations. It combines data from different sources into an interactive map called the regional surveillance picture and conveys it to the 17 member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) to help them manage compliance with fishing rules in their territorial waters. The RFSC is the centrepiece of the several regional surveillance operations that FFA coordinates every year.

Fisheries information is stored in the secure databases of the Regional Information Management Facility of the RFSC. The centre also helps coordinate regional MCS operations and carry out analysis of the information obtained from the surveillance picture with other data sets (e.g. log sheets and observer reports) to analyse the information streams for anomalies.

The FFAs Vessel Monitoring System allows FFA members to track and monitor fishing activities across the region.

Man sits before a bank of computer screens in FFA's Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre for the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Photo FFA.
At work in the high-tech operations room at the RFSC. Photo: FFA.

Work and training of observers guided by best practice

The work of observers is based on and supported by numerous manuals and guidelines developed and published by regional organisations. These help to ensure work is done consistently, in line with national and regional rules, and to inform best practice in observation and compliance. Other organisations such as the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) publish best-practice information that applies to the tuna fisheries of all oceans.

Fisheries officer from Tuvalu writing on a document on the bridge of a tuna fishing vessel. Photo Francisco Blaha.
Munua, a fisheries observer from Tuvalu, signs off on documentation on board a tuna fishing vessel. Photo: Francisco Blaha.