FFA launches new electronic systems to strengthen Pacific fisheries monitoring

The Electronic Vessel Register and the Electronic Port State Measures systems were launched at the 27th Annual Monitor Control Surveillance Working Group (MCSWG) Meeting currently underway at the FFA Conference Centre in Honiara this week (PHOTO: Supplied)

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) has launched two new electronic systems built for vessel registrations and Port State Measures.

FFA Director General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen introduced the Electronic Vessel Register and the Electronic Port State Measures (e-PSM) System during a recent meeting in Honiara.

The New Zealand Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and FFA, has collaborated with Australian web developer Eighty Options to create a system that will significantly transition from traditional paper-based reporting to electronic platforms.

This move is set to transform data access, accuracy, and efficiency crucial for vessel registration, risk assessment processes, and information exchange to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing while promoting sustainable fisheries management across the Pacific.

The newly introduced Online Vessel Registration System aims to simplify the registration process for fishing vessel operators, offering a more streamlined and user-friendly experience.

Vessel operators can now apply directly, upload necessary documents, and track their application status online, thereby reducing manual processing times and enhancing the accuracy of vessel registry information.

The e-PSM system, a first for a Regional Fisheries Body, provides a real-time platform for the sharing and exchange of information among Member ports.

The tool is deemed critical in strengthening port State measures through efficient data exchange to combat IUU fishing. Josaia Maiwai from the Fiji Ministry of Fisheries commended FFA’s support in developing the e-PSM system and urged Members to adopt it.

“Fiji is in their initial stage of piloting the system, and we highly recommend Members to take into consideration the usage of this tool,” shared Maiwai.

“We believe that by having this system, it would greatly assist in standardising our risk analysis and improve our documentation system of vessels entry into port and departure.”

Expressing gratitude, Losaline Otukolo from the Tonga Ministry of Fisheries highlighted the benefits of implementing the e-PSM system.

“Being the first nation to implement the e-PSM is a great blessing for us,” she said.

“We trust that this system enhances the national systems through a fully integrated, digitised, and paperless workflow, thus easing the burden of manual systems that we currently implement.”

FFA has encouraged members to engage with these new systems, providing feedback for their continuous evolution and effectiveness.