In late March 2014, a WCPFC workshop was held at the FFA Headquarters in Honiara, Solomon Islands to discuss opportunities offered by electronic reporting and electronic monitoring in the WCPO. Participants from a wide range of backgrounds came together to discuss how electronic reporting (or ER) and electronic monitoring (or EM) could enhance data collection programmes at the national, subregional and regional levels. The workshop was chaired by Ray Clarke of the US.

Participants worked solidly over the two days in breaking down the challenges and identifying where progress could be made to accommodate members that were already implementing or looking to implement electronic technologies in their national programmes. Panel discussions provided participants with information on the different approaches taken by countries and break out groups discussed the steps required to progress implementation at the Commission level. Individual participant surveys collected information on the priorities and challenges to implementation.

WCPFC’s Vessel Monitoring System and Record of Fishing Vessels are two examples where electronic reporting has been successfully implemented in the WCPFC. There are opportunities for other WCPFC datasets such as observer data, transshipment notifications and high seas boarding and inspection reports to also be submitted electronically in an agreed standardised format. Together with further trials, a phased in approach was strongly supported by participants at the workshop with agreement that some obligations could be reported electronically in the near to short term.

Electronic monitoring was seen as a medium term prospect with strong support for continuing trials, particularly on longline and carrier vessels, and developing standards and specifications.  EM systems are at early stages of development in the WCPO and participants noted that there needs to be further consideration of the challenges to implementation.

TCC10 has recommended to WCPFC11 that an ER and EM working group be established to look at ways to implement these technologies including progressing data standards as a priority. Agreed standards would allow for the development of technologies in a way that suits the needs of the countries and ensures that the Commission is able to continue to support those members that are looking to implement electronic technologies.  More information on the workshop is available from the website (

Side note - Many participants flew out of Honiara on 3 April 2014, a day of catastrophic flooding in Honiara and its surrounds. Our thoughts and condolences are with our colleagues and their families who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. 

News Item Updated 13 Jul, 2015
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