For the first time Russia determined status of observers on fishing vessels
The document, developed by WWF Russia, defines the status and rules to ensure the activities of scientific observers on board the Russian long-liners. In accordance with it scientific observers at sea will be able to collect biostatistical and analytical information, conduct fisheries research and advise the crew on compliance with fishing regulations and the requirements of environmental protection.
In addition, scientific observers will have the right at any time to get acquainted with the vessel's documents, including catch permission, get access to storage of the catch and fish products as well as to a radio room.
«We believe that the use of this document by the Russian Far East long-liners will improve the quality of collected by the observers information on the impact of long-line fishing on the environment», - head of the marine program of WWF Russia Konstantin Zgurovsky told.
«We have for many years successfully cooperated with the Far East Association of long-line fishing in reducing seabird by-catches, including short-tailed albatross listed in Red Book. Besides we train crews of long-liners for scaring techniques, collection of data on by-catches, identifying species of marine birds and mammals», - said Zgurovsky.
In turn, the longline fishermen rely on the fact that the work of observers at sea will help them increase the effectiveness of the fishery.
«We hope that the scientific observers on board our vessels will gather for us an objective and representative information on the impact of fishing on various elements of the environment, including all kinds of by-catches», - Mikhail Zaitsev, president of Association of long-line fishing said. «Such information will help us to improve long-line catching the cod and other demersal species».
Russian long-liners also expect that further improvement of the fishery based on the scientific observer’s data will significantly assist the Association in carrying out a «green audit» of fishing in accordance with the MSC standards.
«Our Association is working together with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) in collaboration with WWF Russia to get ready for such audit», - said Zaitsev.
WWF Russia hopes that the document that defines the rights and responsibilities of observers at sea will also be accepted by Russia’s department for fisheries as a model variant and its requirements will apply to all Russian fishing vessels.