Big Technological Step for Tracing Tuna Catches

In a world-first for tuna fisheries, real-time verification and validation of fish deliveries from sea to port is being actioned through an innovative electronic reporting platform.

WWF, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and the Pacific Community (SPC) are celebrating the implementation of this electronic reporting, which has put ruggedized tablet computers into the hands of fisheries officials in key landing ports around the Pacific. This approach, complemented by the new Observer eReporting App for on-board fisheries observers, will provide supply chain transparency and traceability in the Western and Central Pacific tuna fisheries.

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing remains a persistent problem in the Pacific region. This new technology will directly address non-reporting, misreporting, and under-reporting, which represents the greatest proportion of IUU.

Through the recent SPC Tuna Data Workshop held in New Caledonia, 13 fisheries officials from nine Pacific countries were trained on the use of these devices that will provide real-time information on fisheries management in the Western and Central Pacific region. In these member countries, port inspectors are now being trained using SPC’s Tails application (an in-port data collection tool) and fishing vessel captains are being trained to use the OnBoard application (to electronically report effort and catch data).

“Getting timely and accurate verification and validation of catch records at the point of landing has always been extremely difficult with a paper-based record-keeping system, but now port inspectors can go to the dock and input information that will immediately be fed into management systems,” said Bubba Cook, WWF’s Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager.

“This technology links information collected in the vessel’s log book, the fisheries observer’s report and the port inspector’s report, making real-time electronic catch documentation and supply chain traceability a reality, rather than just a concept.”

“This electronic reporting technology is changing the game for fisheries management, and we need every tool available to ensure fisheries can operate more safely and transparently.”

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