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Премия рунета 2017

Observers on longline fishing vessels received broader powers

03 april 2018
“The Regulations on Observers’ Work” was developed by the Longline Fishery Association (LFA) together with WWF-Russia. The LFA’s internal document defines specific rights and duties of an observer when onboard a fishing vessel.

However, the new Regulations give an observer authority to collect data at each and every stage of the fishing process. It defines an observer’s status, and makes the cooperation between an observer and crew members more explicit.  To aid transparency, the document sets forth that an independent observer can access any door of a longline fishing vessel.

“This document shows LFA’s good will to make fishing processes transparent. It is important that in addition to collecting scientific data on main commercial species, observers also record instances of the vessel losing or collecting fishing gear, the numbers and types of species bycaught, as well as the effectiveness of mitigation devices used to repel sea birds from bait,” says Andrey Vinnikov, the head of Sustainable Fishery Program WWF-Russia.

LFA and WWF-Russia’s experts started to work on the Regulations in 2014. The final version of the document was approved by LFA for all their longline fishing vessels on February 1, 2018.

“The main goal of observer’s work onboard is to collect independent data to assess fishing impact on the main commercial species (cod and halibut), by-caught species, and the environment, in general. Scientists need these data, as well as environmentalists. And commercial fishing companies need to collect this information as part of the MSC-certification process,” explains Tatyana Shulezhko, the head of Certification and Fishery Improvement Projects of LFA.
“Right now, we aim to certify our cod and halibut fisheries according to the Marine Stewardship Council’s standards. In particular, we are prioritizing certification of the fisheries located in the western part of the Bering Sea and near the eastern shore of the Kamchatka peninsula. The MSC certification process demands thorough analysis of the impact that longline fishing operations cause to environment. We are eager to make this information public, as this alone will be a milestone on the way toward achieving sustainability,” said Vyacheslav Bychkov, the president of LFA.

It is worth saying that not only scientists from fisheries research institutes can work as observers. In fact, any specialist who has passed proper training and received necessary skills and knowledge can be allowed to collect data onboard.

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