Automating marine fisheries catch documentation schemes: the eACDS
Market-driven measures, enforced to control the trading of fish and fishery products, specifically, the EC Regulation 1005/2008, have impacted not only the countries that send their products to the EU but also some countries that do not directly export their fish to the EU but need catch certifications. For the conservation and management of tunas, the respective member countries of the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) adopt the Catch Documentation Schemes of the RFMOs. Based on such market-driven measures, relevant ASEAN Member States (AMSs) that trade their fish and fishery products are also bound to implement the measures. The AMSs recognize that measures are necessary to improve the traceability system of capture fisheries and combat IUU fishing in the region. Catch documentation scheme is one of the management tools that could enhance and strengthen the management of the region’s fisheries as well as support intra-regional and international trade of fish and fishery products beyond trading either with the EU or under the framework of the RFMO areas. Based on the abovementioned circumstances, issues pertaining to the EC Regulation 1005/2008 and traceability of capture fisheries had been immensely discussed by the AMSs in various fora, where support was expressed on the need to improve and develop the traceability for capture fisheries to ensure the sustainability of fisheries for food security as well as to prevent the entry of IUU fish and fishery products into the supply chain in the Southeast Asian region. Accordingly, the development of a common ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme that takes into consideration the format, standards and information requirements of the importing countries but simplified to enhance its applicability by the small-scale fisheries in the region, was endorsed.