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WCPFC Considers On-Board Video Monitoring On 3000 Longliners

The use of electronic video monitoring on 3,000 Pacific longline tuna vessels could become an alternative to on-board observers. With a substantial portion of the longline tuna fleet lacking the presence of observers, the change is being considered by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

WCPFC Executive Director, Glenn Hurry, said that the observer program has been an effective way to ensure that purse seiners follow the regulations of the use of fish aggregation devices (FADs), but (besides purse seiners) many boats do not have them. He explained that there are almost 3,000 longline tuna vessels operating with only two percent observer coverage.

“Observers and the skippers on the boats can put in their log sheets and their observer reports electronically so it’ll give us more real time information. But also to look at electric monitoring so that you can actually use cameras on boats to actually record the activity on the longline vessels,” he said.

Hurry added that the new system would not be tried on purse seine tuna vessels as the WCPFC did not want to take the jobs away from the current Pacific island observers on board the ships.