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Премия рунета 2017

WWF-Russia: the Ministry of Agriculture should ensure the independence of observers on board fishing vessels

26 may 2020
WWF-Russia sent its amendments to the new version of the Statute for service on fishing vessels. Environmental experts consider it necessary to define clearly the legal status of observers on board fishing and fish processing vessels.

The Ministry of Agriculture has posted a draft Statute of service on vessels of the Russian fishing fleet. The subject of regulation of the Statute is the organization of the service and the legal status of the crew members. According to environmentalists, the document needs serious enhancements.

The role of the observer, as well as his rights to the fishing vessel, remains extremely uncertain. The revision of the Statute proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, on the one hand, classifies observers as members of a scientific and technical service, which is created only on research vessels; on the other hand, the document still allows observers to work on fishing and fish processing vessels. However, in the second case, the legal position of the observer will be completely determined by the captain.
“If we speak about the pollock trawl fishery, then, according to our data, the main problem is discarding of undersized species, which often occurs on ships that produce fillets,” says Alexey Golenkevich, an expert with WWF-Russia. “There is no mandatory weighting of the total catch in Russia, and therefore the role of an observer, independent of the captains and company owners, is crucial for sustainable resource management.”
In ideal conditions, the institution of observers is a guarantee of fishing sustainability. At the same time, the independence of assessment plays a key role in the process. Uncertain role and legal status of the observer undermine the very idea of this institution.
“An observer can rightfully perform his tasks only if his rights and obligations are clearly defined. He must be guaranteed to freely monitor fishing operations and transmit the collected information anytime. Data on the actual catch volumes and the impact of fishing on non-target species will improve the quality of evidence-based fishing management, thus increasing the effectiveness of the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” said Tatyana Shuvalova, director of the Regulation of Environmental Protection and Nature Management Program with WWF-Russia.

photo in the preview and the head - © Alexander Pavlenko
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