FarFish – Inspiration for Changes

Cadu Villaça from Brazil participated in the Far Fish Marine Management and Innovation course at the University of Tromsø this past March. He wrote to us last week to let us know of some exciting developments in his professional life, part of which he attributes to his participation in the FarFish course. This highlights how the FarFish project is having impact in the partner countries and the live of those connected to the project. An abridged version of his letter follows:

My participation in the course in Marine Management and Innovation promoted by the FarFish Project at the University of Tromsø, and the opportunity it provided to spend a few days with excellent teachers and young talents in the incredible environment of the University and the beautiful Tromsø, and experiencing the boat ride with Hermes II after such a high conversation with the entrepreneur and owner, among so many other experiences and conversations, recently helped me make professional and personal decision of great importance.

For a long time, I have dedicated part of my time to representing the Brazilian Fishing Sector. This started with the intention of including the lobster fishery of the state of Ceará in a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP).  After some time, I was appointed to assume the Technical Direction of Conepe, the National Collective of Fishing and Aquaculture.

There, with a national perspective, I was exposed to a much more complex system involving many environments, fisheries and cultures. I experienced and became aware of the difficulties and shortcomings of National Fishing Management.

Some ICCAT meetings we have been able to attend have served as a good example of what can be achieved through international cooperation for sustainable fisheries. It is clear that when protocols of data collection and consolidation are established, and when properly analyzed and when reflected in standards and deliberations discussed in a respectful environment, even geographic and cultural barriers can be overcome to develop management systems on the basis of the best available information, prevailing coherence.

The course in Tromsø addressed many legal aspects of international management. The FarFish project also deals with this, namely the participation of European fleets in fisheries in international areas, whether by bilateral treaties or by activity in international waters, and the commitment of these fleets and their actors to promote in these regions action aimed at sustainability and efficient management of natural resources.

These experiences and the background I have gained over the years, have moved me decide to accept an invitation from the National Secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries to join the Board of Directors in the Department of Registration and Monitoring.

Within the structure of the Ministry of Agriculture, which attends to agricultural and broodstock activities. The Ministry now comprises our comparatively small Secretary of Fisheries, which returned to this structure after experiences in many other institutions within the federal administration.  It basically has three Departments, including Fisheries Development and Management, Aquaculture Development and Management, and of Registration and Monitoring, where I now work.

In accepting this function, I acknowledge that it will not be possible to develop either fishing or aquaculture if we do not get the control of data and information. Our country is lacking in records and consequently cannot monitor activities properly.  What is produced, how much and where, with what seasonality, and a lot of other basic information is lacking, which causes problems for development of consistent instruments for management.

Our innovative idea is to promote, through support of technology and automation, a major campaign of systematization and data collection. This will allow us to offer the development departments of Aquaculture and Fisheries, new platforms of data collection and monitoring. It is clear that the Fisheries Department needs a thorough reviews, fleets, value chains, training, and production limits to truly be able to develop a solid and sustainable future scenario. We aim to develop strong cooperation with research centers, civil society representation, legislative powers, to finally bring regulation and legal security that promote medium and long-term investments and enable development and balance in the fisheries sector.

Finally, I must thank the FarFish project and the whole FarFish team for making my participation possible, as well as the UiT staff and the beautiful Tromsø. I hope that the inspiration of this course will reflect a great change in the Brazilian approach to fisheries and aquaculture management, and that we will enter a cycle of development of the Sea Economy in harmony with the various activities, countries and cultures that divide the Oceans.

Cadu Villaça

Considerations on art.25 of the proposal for amendment of European Parliament Regulation N.1224/2009 CCTV control system in fishing

This news piece represents the second of seven summaries of the essays written by participants of the FarFish course Marine Management and Innovation. Once a month we will publish an essay summary that will highlight interesting views and reflections. The intention behind this is to present interesting cases on marine management from around the world.

The monitoring of fishing activities and the fight against regulatory infringements aim to ensure sound enforcement of regulations. Member States, the Commission and fishing operators are all responsible for making sure compliance takes place. Member States that do not comply with these rules are punishable under the infringement procedure. Currently, the EU fisheries control system makes extensive use of modern technologies to ensure that fishing fleets are effectively monitored and controlled. The control system improves access to good quality fishing data and allows for crosschecking of information from different sources such as: Electronic data recording and transmission system (ERS), Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), Vessel Tracking System (VDS) and Automatic Identification System (AIS).

Currently, 31% of global fish stocks are overexploited, while 61% are exploited at maximum capacity. Overfishing represents one of the most serious threats to the sustainability of our seas and the species that populate them. A reason for this alarming state is the continuous use of unsustainable fishing practices, also called illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. To deal with IUU fishing, monitoring, controlling and surveillance (MCS) is necessary. Article 15 of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) states that Member States shall ensure detailed and accurate documentation of all fishing trips and adequate means of verification, such as observers, closed-circuit television (CCTV) or other methodologies. In many fisheries around the world, the use of Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) systems are being tested, and in some countries, REM systems are implemented as a tool for management of fisheries. A REM system acquires data and video footage using GPS, sensors, and CCTV cameras. REM data is used as an independent system for documenting fishing activities and catches. The system was developed as an alternative to human observers at sea to provide observation 24/7, while significantly decreasing costs.

The implementation of current EU fisheries control regime occurred before the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform, thus it is not entirely consistent with CFP. For this reason, amendments to regulation N.1224/2009, art.25 are now being proposed. Specifically, the proposal aims to: 1) remedy the shortcomings identified with respect to the CFP and other EU policies; 2) simplify the regulatory framework and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens; 3) improve availability, reliability and completeness of data and information on fishing, in particular catch data, and allow the exchange and sharing of information; and 4) eliminate obstacles that prevent the development of a culture of compliance with rules and fair treatment of operators between and within Member States.

There is a need for these amendments as there currently are struggles related to adequate control of the landing obligation (an obligation introduced in CFP). It is important that this obligation be imposed on all fishing vessels, regardless of size, tonnage and type of fishing, e.g. the absence of a reporting obligation regarding catches for fishing vessels below 10 meters in length has led to unreliable and incomplete data for this type of vessel.

A way to deal with this issue is to equip a specific percentage of fishing vessels with electronic surveillance control devices, such as CCTV cameras through use of the REM system. The CCTV system can be integrated with other electronic control devices (AIS, VMS, etc.) to obtain data. Through setting up fisheries control centres – whose function is to monitor fishing activities and fishing effort – Member States can utilize the REM system 24/7 without having to be on the vessel physically.

While this is an effective method, it is also important to consider the ethical side of such an intervention, which will more than likely limit the sense of freedom of the fishers and possibly violate the right to privacy. That is why video recordings should only cover the gear and parts of the vessel where the catch is processed, stored, and brought to land.

Overall, there is certainly no denying the need for the Member States to adopt and activate solutions aimed at ensuring effective controls of the landing obligation, even if – at least in the initial phase – it will only concern a small percentage of vessels.

Francesco Petta, a participant of the FarFish course Marine Management and innovation originally wrote the essay summarized here.

Photo: Shutterstock

Tasks and limits of Marine Protected Area management: The case of the Islet of Nosy Ve, Madagascar

This is one of seven summaries of the essays written by participants of the FarFish course in Marine Management and Innovation offered at the University of Tromso in the spring of 2020. Once a month, we will publish a summary of the work produced by the course participants that highlights insights and reflections on their selected research topics from around the world.  This first summary is written by Mahasoa V. J. Tsiebo from YSO-Madagascar.

Nosy Ve is an islet and global biodiversity hotspot located along the southwest coast of Madagascar (Figure 1). Though the islet is uninhabited, more than 200 000 people from three rural communes rely on the services and resources of this marine ecosystem. It provides food, jobs (mainly fishing and tourism) and other livelihood needs. In 1998, a locally managed marine area (LMMA) was established at Nosy Ve and its reef. The association called FIMIMANO (Fikambanana Miaro sy Mampandroso an’I Nosy Ve) has main responsibility for administration of the LMMA. Its main tasks relate to conservation and protection of the islet’s ecosystem as well as ensuring sustainable socioeconomic development through, among other things, promoting ecotourism. FIMIMANO is also responsible for facilitating cooperation between the stakeholders, i.e. the users, the government, the private sector, and NGOs.

However, despite its long existence, FIMIMANO has not been effective in protection of the marine ecosystem of Nosy Ve, which remains under threat of harmful anthropogenic activities. FIMIMANO has tried, but has been ultimately ineffectual in addressing these issues. With poor management and decision-making over the years, little has improved. Therefore, the main objective of this essay was to identify the challenges and limitations that has led to this ineffective management of the Nosy Ve LMMA.

Over the years, population increase, an influx of tourism and use of destructive fishing methods have also contributed to a worsening of the state of the Nosy Ve ecosystem. Decisions taken by FIMIMANO have been oriented towards the conservation of the islet, but have not led to a positive impact on the socioeconomic status of the users. Another contributing factor may be that the users of the islet are generally from areas where socioeconomic welfare and knowledge on sustainability is low. Many lack basic education, and some are illiterate. This is a major challenge with respect to implementation of regulations.

From 2010-2015, due to prolonging unsuccessful management, main responsibility over Nosy Ve was given to an association called FINOMA. However, due to lack of funding and recognition from state bodies and donors, this association was also unable to successfully carry out its role. In the five years of control, FINOMA had focused on social development through the construction of two school buildings. The decision was ultimately taken to merge FINOMA with FIMIMANO and establish an intermunicipal platform with the belief that this would lead to better management of the LMMA.

Overall, the management of the Nosy Ve LMMA has been chaotic and ineffective. Due to poor decision-making, management has not been able turn the fishers away from destructive, traditional methods, nor deal with the consequences of increased population and tourism.

Joséphine Victoire Mahasoa Tsiebo, a participant of the FarFish course Marine Management and innovation originally wrote the essay summarized here.

FarFish initiates its process on creating a European voluntary CEN standard

On June 24th, FarFish initiated its one-year process on developing a European voluntary CEN standard for its good practice guidelines for developing management recommendations for the EU fleet operating outside European waters. Due to COVID-19, the kick-off meeting took place online on June 24th and was attended by FarFish researchers, as well as several interested stakeholders that had signed up for the process. Participation in the CWA process is open to anyone interested, giving interested stakeholders an opportunity to follow the development of the guidelines, offer their feedback and provide inputs.

One of many FarFish project’s outputs is the development a European voluntary CEN standard that will be developed and approved as CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA)[1] in an open CEN process. The focus of this standard is to provide guidelines for the development of so-called Management Recommendations for the EU fleet operating outside EU waters, which have been in development in the FarFish project over the past three years. The aim of creating these guidelines is, firstly, to improve the cooperation between the EU distant water fleet fishing in the waters of a third State and the authorities involved, i.e. both regional and relevant EU authorities. Secondly, applying the framework suggested in these guidelines will improve data flow and transparency between the EU operators and the authorities.

Creating Management Recommendations means following a framework where the operators themselves are given new management responsibilities. They become directly involved in the management and decision-making process of the fishery in question, as they are given the responsibility to develop strategies to reach specific fisheries management objectives set by the relevant authorities. Such strategies are to contain a set of fisheries management measures that together will reach the authorities’ pre-defined objectives and will only be implemented given the authorities approval. A draft of the guidelines for making Management Recommendations has already been developed and tested within the FarFish project and will serve as basis for the standard.

The CEN process for developing the CWA standard is a one-year process. During this time, FarFish researchers will, in cooperation with the stakeholders that are voluntarily participating in the process, develop a final version of the guidelines through numerous physical and online meetings. Draft versions of the standard will be made publicly available for feedback during the course of its development, which will be announced on FarFish and CEN websites. Finally, to support the final version of the guidelines, FarFish will also develop an animated video demonstrating the Management Recommendation process, which will be made available on FarFish website and FarFish YouTube channel.

Anyone interested in taking part in this process can do so by registering at the CEN webpage.

[1] https://www.cen.eu/work/products/cwa/pages/default.aspx

FarFish spreading knowledge on marine management and innovation

From 9-13th March, UiT held the FarFish certificate course in Marine Management and Innovation at Campus Tromsø. 29 participants from 14 countries took part, and among the participants were students and researchers from UiT, as well as invited stakeholders and online participants.

Throughout the week, participants were educated on topics such as international ocean governance, traceability, value and supply chains, and economics – discussions were engaging and fruitful! Social activities were also on the daily agenda, where the most memorable activity was the beautiful boat trip around the Tromsø area on a small, old fishing vessel in sunshiny weather.

The course was unfortunately cut short mid-way through due to the enforcement of the COVID-19-restrictions, thus all teaching occurred online the last 1.5 days. Moreover, some participants became worried about not being able to travel home but luckily, we were able to rebook the tickets of those who wanted to travel back to their families earlier than planned. In the end, every travelling participant got home safely, including those who did not rebook.

The course evaluation revealed that the majority of the participants were very satisfied with the overall content and quality of the course despite the sudden change of circumstances. All in all, we at UiT feel the course was a great success and would like to thank all partners who contributed on its development and execution – especially those who provided lecturers and sat up external ‘classrooms’.

Lectures were recorded and uploaded to UiT’s online storage Mediasite where they will be available for five years.

29 Participants

13 students / Reseachers

9 invited participants

7 formal online participants

20 average streaming views

8 participants took the exam, all passed


The 3rd FarFish Annual Meeting

Last week the third annual FarFish meeting was held on June 3rd – 4th. Due to Covid-19 the meeting took place online this year. The project coordinator, Jónas R. Viðarsson from Matís, Iceland, led the meeting with 49 attending, including projects partners and the external advisory group (EAG). Despite these unusual circumstances the meeting went well and without any major technical difficulties. The project has now been running for three years, which means that there is only one year left. Some interesting results are already in, which were shared at the meeting and will be presented here on this website very soon.

FarFish initiates a CEN workshop agreement on “Good practice guidelines for developing management recommendations tailored for the EU fleet operating outside European waters”

Among the intended key products of the FarFish project are “Good practice guidelines for developing management recommendations tailored for the EU fleet operating outside European waters”. Drafts of such guidelines have already been developed, tested, improved and validated in the FarFish project. The final step in this process is to develop a CEN workshop agreement (CWA), based on the project work already conducted. CEN is the European Committee for Standardization and CWA are the lowest-level standards published under CEN. By going through this CWA process, where anyone interested in the topic can actively participate, the guidelines developed are guaranteed to follow a standardised format and follow a process where consensus is to be reached.

Those interested in taking part in the process of developing the CWA good practise guidelines can now visit the webpage of CEN and register, as well as downloading background documents.



The CWA kick-off meeting will be held on June 24th, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the meeting will take place online using Zoom.

Seychelles SFPA in numbers


In this picture designed by the FarFish team the new SFPA (Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement) is explained in numbers and compared to the old SFPA.

Diploma program in marine management and innovation at the University of Tromsø

Last week the FarFish project offered a university level certificate program in marine management and innovation at the University of Tromsø. The program consisted of short modules taught by FarFish institutions and were designed to further educate fish business operators and EU fleet representatives in particular.

Two main topics have been selected for the focus of the programme: laws and regulations, and value chain analysis. The sessions were streamed in parallel in Vigo, Spain, and Reykjavik, Iceland. UiT – The Arctic University of Norway is responsible for coordination and administration of the programme.

The aim is to educate at least 5 students to graduation in 2020, and to provide an open access and adaptable on-line course for at least five years after the project ends. For the course launch in March 2020 students are required to travel to Tromsø in order to participate.

All the presentations are available here.

Sustainable Tuna Fisheries in Seychelles

A meeting was held this week with FarFish partners in Victoria, Seychelles. The meeting was well attended by Case Study Leaders from the Seychelles Fishing Authority as well as tuna industry representatives and SFA staff. The FarFish work package leader on capacity development and dissemination and partners from the Long Distance Advisory Council and ICMAN-CSIC gave presentations about the progress of the FarFish project and next steps for cooperation.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to present, review, and discuss what has already been accomplished within the first stage of the Seychelles Case Study. The objectives of the Management Recommendations for Seychelles falls into two main themes related to sustainable tuna fisheries; namely, to improve data collection and to enhance monitoring, control and surveillance tools.

WP7 Leader Mary Frances Davidson and Deputy Director of the UNESCO-Fisheries Training Programme presented the status of the FarFish project so far with a focus on the Seychelles Case Study and reviewed some of the next steps for cooperation. Alexandre Rodriguez, Executive Secretary of the LDAC then presented the results from the first round of Management Recommendations, Outcome Targets, and Roadmap for 2020 and 2021 produced through the FarFish audit. Dr. Margarita Rincon of ICMAN-CSIC then demonstrated the Data Limited Methods Tool and the FarFish Database and described the various ways it can be used in situations where fisheries data may be scarce in the Indian Ocean.

The meeting concluded with a description of the capacity building opportunities available to SFA through the project, including participation in the advanced post-graduate training programme offered through UNESCO-FTP, a short course on Data Limited Methods which will take place in Mindelo, Cabo Verde in April, and the Tutor Web/Education in a Suitcase course, to be delivered in Seychelles later this year.