Regional fishing vessels record: A management tool for combating IUU fishing in Southeast Asia
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SEAFDEC has been assisting the Southeast Asian countries in their efforts to combat IUU fishing, which includes promoting the implementation of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) considered as a catalyst in preventing IUU fishing particularly illegal fishing. Under this circumstance, the implementation of MCS could include such aspects as joint marine patrol between navy, police, departments of fisheries, and marine departments while vessels should be equipped with new engine technology and fast, increasing awareness on the use of advance technology such as coastal radar that can be installed in the vicinity of tracking illegal vessels, installation of vessel monitoring system (VMS) on fishing vessels that already have licenses whether local or foreign ships, and enhancing human resources to enable officers to carry out their duties properly and professionally in their fields to avoid a breach or things that deviate from existing laws. Recognizing the severity of IUU fishing in the Southeast Asian region, the Ministers and Senior Officials responsible for fisheries from the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries adopted the Resolution and Plan of Action on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region Towards 2020 in June 2011 (SEAFDEC, 2011), which includes provisions declaring the need to 'Foster cooperation among ASEAN Member States and with international and regional organizations in combating IUU fishing' (Resolution No. 8); as well as encouraging the ASEAN Member States to: 'Strengthen regional and national policy and legislation to implement measures and activities to combat IUU fishing, including the development and implementation of national plans of action to combat IUU fishing, and promote the awareness and understanding of international and regional instruments and agreements through information dissemination campaigns' (POA No. 21); 'Establish and strengthen regional and sub-regional coordination on fisheries management and efforts to combat IUU fishing including the development of regional/sub-regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) networks' (POA No. 22); and 'Facilitate consultative dialogue among fisheries legal officers to share, at the subregional/regional level, perspectives of the respective legal and regulatory framework in terms of developing MCS-networks and to implement efforts to combating IUU fishing' (POA No. 23). Guided by such agreements and in support of the implementation of MCS, SEAFDEC through a series of technical/expert consultations with the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) had been tasked to initiate the establishment of a Regional Fishing Vessels Record (RFVR) as a tool to combat the IUU fishing in the Southeast Asian region and to strengthen the promotion of MCS in the region. The development of the RFVR makes use of data on fishing vessels provided by the ASEAN Member States.