FarFish fourth and final annual meeting

Last week, the FarFish consortium attended the fourth and final FarFish annual meeting. The meeting, which was originally scheduled to take place Brussels, was eventually held online for the second time in a row due to covid related travel restrictions.

FarFish key researchers and stakeholders from all over the world used the three-day event to discuss achievements and progress of the project. As the FarFish project recently got a 6-month extension due to covid related-restrictions, the event was further used to carefully plan for the final 6 months of the FarFish project.

Just like last year, the FarFish consortium was forced to rely on their internet connections for the forth and final FarFish annual meeting which took place on 25th-27th of May. Due to covid and related travel restrictions, FarFish partners unfortunately were not able to travel to meet in person as originally planned, but were sat down in front of their computers for the three-day event. The first day was dedicated to various working group meetings, as well as discussions on the FarFish CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA), which is currently under development. The CWA standard, named Good practice guidelines for developing management recommendations for the EU fleet operating outside European waters, is one of many FarFish’s outputs. The second draft of the CWA document will be published July 1st, after which, all interested stakeholders get the opportunity to review and comment on its content by 1st September 2021. The publishing of the draft and information about the commenting phase will be advertised through FarFish’s website and other main communication channels. Further details are available on the official CEN page of the project.

For the remaining two days of the annual meeting, researchers and other participants, including FarFish case study leaders, discussed the progress made and organised the work and tasks for the remaining 6 months of the project. Apart from delivering many key research outputs of the project over the coming months, the consortium will also organise and host various exciting events and conferences. This includes the conference on The External Dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy, which will take place this week, June 1st and 2nd, an online workshop on small-pelagics and environmental forcing West of Africa at the end of June, and the Final Symposium, which will be held in Brussels in November.

Without seeing each other’s faces for over a year, the FarFish consortium is extremely excited to come together in Brussels in November to share their exciting results with the rest of the world!

Seychelles launches report to Fisheries Transparency Initiative

FarFish Case Study partner Seychelles has launched its first report to the Fisheries Transparency Initiative, making it the first country in the world to do so. 

The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) is a global multi-stakeholder partnership that defines for the first time the information that national authorities must publish on the marine fisheries sector. By making fisheries management more transparent and inclusive, the FiTI promotes informed public debates on fisheries policies and supports the long-term contribution of the sector to national economies and the well-being of citizens and businesses that depend on a healthy marine environment.

The FiTI report represents a major milestone towards Seychelles’ efforts to ensure environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially equitable fisheries.

While there are many aspects to achieve sustainable fisheries, the public availability of credible information is critical. 

According the document, the purpose of this report is threefold:

  • To summarize key status information on Seychelles’ fisheries sector to increase public understanding and appreciation of Seychelles’ fisheries sector;
  • To assess Seychelles’ level of compliance against the 12 transparency requirements of the FiTI Standard
  • To provide recommendations to Seychelles’ national authorities on how the publication of information in the public domain, e.g. on government websites, can be further improved.

The report makes known a range of previously unpublished information on various topics, including foreign fishing access agreements, stock information, payment and catch data from large- and small-scale fishing vessels, as well as fishing subsidies. 

Philippe Michaud,  Chair of the FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group Seychelles and representative of the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy states of the report

“I am … convinced this report will be a milestone in our country’s efforts towards a prosperous, well-managed and socially equitable fisheries sector. It is expected that important changes will result from this report. In fact, some have already started since the exercise was initiated. Most notably, some foreign fishing access agreements, fisheries research studies, licensing data etc. have now been published and can be accessed without any restrictions or costs. The changes that are coming will be necessary as they will identify how to create streamlined operating procedures that will prevent duplication, maximize use of resources and promote the inclusiveness of all partners into the process.”

Of interest to the FarFish project is the section of this report relating to transparency of Fishing Access agreements. The report states

“The only available information relating to agreements signed by Seychelles are the agreements between Seychelles’ and the EU and between Seychelles and Mayotte, which have both been published along with their relevant protocols on the website of the European Commission. There were also two oversight reports on the implementation of the sectoral support provided to Seychelles as part of the EU agreement. These were prepared by SFA but have not been published.”

There appears to be no written agreement (i.e. contract) between Seychelles and Dongwon Industries Co. Ltd.  

Furthermore, the report suggests that confidentiality clauses that would restrict the publication of future agreements and protocols should be avoided.”

Congratulations to Seychelles for the effort and initiative it has taken to achieve this important milestone.

La conférence sur la Dimension Extérieure de la Politique Commune de la Pêche

Les prochains jours 1 et 2 juin aura lieu la conférence “La Dimension Extérieure de la Politique Commune de la Pêche : Enjeux Présents et Opportunités Futures”, dans le cadre du projet H2020 FarFish.

La conférence se tiendra via la plateforme Zoom et est organisée par le LDAC et le CETMAR. L’inscription est gratuite et ouverte jusqu’au 26 mai. Pour éliminer les barrières, un service d’interprétation simultanée en anglais, français et espagnol sera disponible tout au long de l’événement.

La conférence est divisée en deux jours :

  • Le premier jour étant consacré à la dimension externe de la PCP en général et aux ORGP. Mme Vitcheva, Directrice Générale à la DG MARE, va commencer la première journée par une présentation sur les résultats de la consultation de la CE sur la gouvernance internationale des océans.
  • Le deuxième jour tournera autour des SFPAs. Cette deuxième journée comprendra une table ronde au cours de laquelle les études de cas FarFish dans les pays tiers seront présentées et les contributions à l’amélioration de la gestion des pêches qui ont été apportées depuis le projet seront discutées.

Chacun des panels sera composé d’experts de renommée mondiale, tels que M. Benabbou (COMHAFAT), M. Manel (ICCAT) ou Mme Leroy (WWF). Nous aurons également des représentants des institutions européennes (DG MARE et Parlement européen) qui partageront leurs points de vue sur le sujet.

Plus d’informations ici

La Conferencia en La Dimensión Externa de la Política Pesquera Común

Los próximos días 1 y 2 de junio tendrá lugar la Conferencia “La Dimensión Externa de la Política Pesquera Común: Desafíos Actuales y Oportunidades Futuras”, dentro del marco del proyecto H2020 FarFish.

La Conferencia se realizará a través de la plataforma Zoom, y está organizada por el LDAC y CETMAR. El registro es gratuito, y está abierto hasta el próximo día 26 de mayo. Para eliminar barreras, durante todo el evento habrá disponible un servicio de interpretación simultánea en inglés, francés y español.

La Conferencia se divide en dos días:

  • El primer día estará dedicado a la dimensión externa de la PPC en general y a las OROPs. La Sra. Vitcheva, Directora General de DG MARE, será la encargada de comenzar la discusión, presentando los resultados de la consulta de la Comisión Europea sobre gobernanza internacional de los océanos
  • El segundo día girará en torno a los SFPAs. Incluirá una mesa redonda en la que se expondrán los Casos de Estudio de FarFish en terceros países, y se discutirán los aportes a la mejora de la gestión pesquera que se han hecho desde el proyecto.

Cada uno de los paneles estará compuesto por expertos de renombre mundial, como el Sr. Benabbou (COMHAFAT), el Sr. Manel (ICCAT) o la Sra. Leroy (WWF). También contaremos con representantes de las instituciones europeas (DG MARE y Parlamento Europeo) que compartirán con sus puntos de vista sobre el tema. 

Más informacion aqui

Conference on The External Dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy

The next 1st and 2nd of June, the Conference “The External Dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy: Present Challenges and Future Opportunities” will take place, within the framework of the H2020 FarFish project.

The Conference will be held through the Zoom platform, and is organized by the LDAC and CETMAR. Registration is free, and will be open until May 26th. To eliminate barriers, a simultaneous interpretation service in English, French and Spanish will be available throughout the event.

The Conference is divided into two days:

  • The first day will be dedicated to the external dimension of the CFP in general and to RFMOs. Ms Vitcheva, Deputy-General at DG MARE will be in charge of starting the first day with a presentation on the Outcomes of the EC consultation on international ocean governance.
  • The  second day will have the conversation focused on SFPAs. It will include a round table in which the FarFish Case Studies in third countries will be presented, and the contributions to the improvement of fisheries management that have been made since the project will be discussed.

Each of the panels will be made up of world-renowned experts, such as Mr. Benabbou (COMHAFAT), Mr. Manel (ICCAT) or Ms. Leroy (WWF). We will also have representatives of the European institutions (DG MARE and the European Parliament) who will share their views on the subject.

More information on the conference can be found here.

UNESCO GRÓ-FTP’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 Video Series

FarFish partners at UNESCO GRÓ Fisheries Training Programme, who lead the project’s work on Capacity Development and Dissemination (WP7) have developed a series of videos unpacking the science and processes behind the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 targets.

This series of videos explores Sustainable Development Goal 14, which relates to life in water and how we can build a path towards conserving living aquatic resources in our oceans and seas.

There are ten targets within SDG 14, and five of them deal with fisheries and how humans can use the living aquatic resources to build the future we want. SDG 14 deals with interactions between humans and aquatic ecosystems. All over the world people rely on these systems to provide them with food, income, livelihoods, and ecosystem services like regulation of the global climate.

For over 20-years the Fisheries Training Program has worked towards building capacity in developing countries to sustainably manage living aquatic resources. Through training and research, the Fisheries Training Programme has worked all over the world, and trained over 400 fisheries professionals, working with research institutions, universities and government agencies in developing countries.

In this SDG 14 video series we explore some of the major issues facing the development of fisheries across the world today.

Small projects for big impact in fisheries; Towards Sustainable Development Goal 14

SDG target 14.4 aims to effectively regulate harvesting, end overfishing, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and to end destructive fishing practices. Essentially, this is about fisheries management. The first step in achieving this target is the creation of governance structures that support sustainable management in fisheries. Having rules in place is one thing, but making it work in practice can be an entirely different challenge. Daði Már Kristófersson is a natural resource economist and a professor at the University of Iceland. In this video, he walks us through some examples of how small incentives can lead to real changes on the ground.

Preserving the value of fish; towards Sustainable Development Goal 14

SDG 14.7 aims, by 2030, to increase the economic benefits to small island developing states, and least developed countries, from sustainable use of marine resources. Worldwide, about 10% of people rely on fisheries as a source of food and income. If properly managed and handled, fish is a renewable source of protein and micronutrients vital for human health and survival, particularly among the very young and pregnant women. Unfortunately, in many places today, the way fish is handled turns what should be a health food, into a health hazard. If we are going to achieve SDG 14.7, and increase economic benefits to the poorest countries from our marine resources, one of the biggest issues to solve is related to post-harvest loss. What happens to a fish from the time it is caught until it reaches the consumer? Margeir Gissurarson is a food scientist who spent his career researching the way fish spoils, and what can be done to preserve it better. In this video, he describes how we can make the most out of these precious marine resources.

Data for sustainable fisheries management; towards Sustainable Development Goal 14

SDG target 14.4 asks us to implement science-based management plans to restore fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics in the shortest time feasible. A generation ago, 90% of the fish stocks we harvested came from sustainably sourced stocks, today the number is closer to 66%. To achieve target 14.4 and restore fish stocks to MSY, we need information about those stocks, but how do we know what is going on with the fish stocks we want to harvest? Einar Hjörleifsson is a fisheries biologist with the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute in Iceland. In this video, he talks us through a through a fundamental fisheries equation to help us solve this problem.

Defining and defending small scale fisheries; towards Sustainable Development Goal 14

SDG target 14b aims to provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets. The UN FAO estimates that about 2/3 of all fish caught for direct human consumption comes from small scale fisheries. 90% of the people directly employed and dependent on fisheries are in the small-scale sector. But what do we really mean when we use the term “small-scale fisheries”? The definition has changed over time, and may be different, depending on where you live. We tend to think of small-scale fisheries as being rooted in local communities, traditions, and values. We imagine that small-scale fishers are self-employed and usually provide food for their communities and households. Tumi Tómasson is a fisheries biologist who has worked all over the world in fisheries development. In this video, he takes us through the concept of small-scale fisheries, how it has changed over time, and how we can apply it today.

Report on potential return on EU long-distant fleet investments in selected West African and Indian Ocean case studies

The FarFish project has published a report that studies potential return on EU investments in selected West African and Indian Ocean case studies connected with the long-distant fleets operations in the areas. The report focuses on small pelagic fisheries in Mauritania and tuna fisheries in West Africa and Seychelles.

The H2020 FarFish project aims to provide knowledge, tools and methods to support responsible, sustainable and profitable EU fisheries outside European waters, both within the jurisdiction (EEZ) of non-EU coastal states as well as in international waters (High Seas). To help achieve this goal, the project has published a report that identifies, studies and recommends investment opportunities for EU operators within some of the areas that conform the project Case Studies. Specifically, the report studies investment opportunities within the small pelagic fisheries in Mauritanian waters, and the associated value chains, and the tuna fish pole and line fishery in West Africa, and the associated value chains. The authors included as well a section dedicated to investigating the specific case of investment of French capital in tuna fisheries in Seychelles.

The analysis done for small pelagic fisheries in Mauritania concludes that although efforts have been made to improve the business environment in Mauritania, it remains more attractive for European investors to continue processing the landings of demersal fishes in Spain and small-pelagic ones in Baltic countries. Still, it is not suitable to foresee large European investment in developing the processing industry in Mauritania to handle the fish landed by EU vessels under the agreement, as this will go against the Common Fishery Policy (CFP) that promotes the maintaining of jobs in the EU based fishing industry. In that regards, a coherence of the external EU policies is sought: the development of the processing industry in Mauritania should be promoted only for the species that are not yet processed in the EU.

For the investigations into tuna fisheries, the analyses were based on interviews with relevant stakeholders, including shipowners and key personnel from public bodies and institutions both in West Africa and Europe. A second case study in tuna fisheries in this case in the Indian Ocean, investigates the investment from the French company SAPMER to improve the land infrastructure in the Port of Victoria (Seychelles), as this would be the only notable investment by European interests in recent years for tuna fishing in Africa. These sections conclude that the fishing area where EU pole-and-line vessels are active is becoming less productive, decreasing the profitability of European flagged vessels, as well as of Senegalese flagged vessels that maintain close partnerships with Europe. As a response, they have attempted to extend their fishing grounds. Additional fishing opportunities are opening in The Gambia (whose EEZ is restricted) and other countries are expected to follow. Contrastingly, the EU sustainable partnership fisheries agreement with Senegal or Mauritania could include fewer fishing opportunities in terms of tonnage, as well as increasingly restrictive conditions for access and landings. European operators have reacted so far by considering the switch to private regime, instead of operating under SFPA, as a preferred strategy.

The full report is available here.

FarFish en Industrias Pesqueras: ejemplos de iniciativas de buenas prácticas llevadas a cabo por operadores pesqueros

Alexandre Rodríguez, Secretario General del LDAC ha publicado en la edición especial de Industrias Pesqueras un interesante artículo sobre iniciativas de buenas prácticas llevadas a cabo por operadores pesqueros. Los tres operadores mencionados, Opagac, Opromar y Orpagu colaboran con el proyecto FarFish ya sea como socios (Opromar) o como miembros del grupo externo de expertos (Opagac y Orpagu). Las iniciativas comentadas centran la atención en la colaboración entre pescadores y científicos, y se incluyen el proyecto FADWATCH, y un proyecto de formación de tripulación para auxiliar tortugas marinas atrapadas accidentalmente. La tercera iniciativa comentada es el proyecto piloto de automuestreo para la evaluación de los stocks de merluza negra realizado dentro de FarFish con el apoyo de Opromar y la tripulación de sus buques, en este caso para el Caso de Estudio de Mauritania. El artículo es accesible desde la web de la revista.

FarFish presented in the Spanish industry journal Industrias Pesqueras

Alexandre Rodríguez from the LDAC, one of the FarFish Consortium members, has published in a special edition of Industrias Pesqueras (main fisheries industry journal in Spain) an interesting article referring some good practices initiatives developed by fisheries operators. These initiatives highlight the collaboration between fishermen and scientists, and all the achievements that we can achieve together. All three operators mentioned are FarFish collaborators in several levels, as partners in the case of Opromar and as advisory experts in the case of both Orpagu and Opagac. As the article is in Spanish, please find below a small summary of the initiatives described:

FAD-WATCH was the first multisectorial initiative at a global level, developed to prevent and mitigate the stranding of FADs in beaches and coral reefs. It was developed in the Seychelles, with the collaboration of Opagac, local NGOs and Seychellois authorities. As a result, around a hundred FADs were intercepted, and the information was then used to design an improved FAD system that reduced their strandings up to 41%.

Orpagu carried out training courses to their crew with the help of Submon, with the aim of increasing the survival of sea turtle bycatches. These training courses included techniques on how to safely remove hooks from the animals and how to manipulate them. The work, mainly done in Cabo Verdean waters, has led to the design and patent by the vessel crews of two devices that will help them safely lift the turtles from the water whilst hauling the catch.

FarFish ran a self-sampling project within the Mauritanian and Senegalese Case Studies with the assistance of Opromar, with the aim of improving the onboard identification of the two black hake species (M. polli and M. senegalensis). Three vessels participated, collecting a total of 358 samples with the fin clipping method following a protocol designed by CCMAR. The identification error was under 18%, with variations depending on depth and fishing area. The fin samples were visually identified and then sent to the University of Oviedo, that identified them genetically. Both identifications were then compared to check the accuracy of visual identification by the vessel crew. The results allow us to better understand data and communication gaps, and work towards their elimination.

FarFish presented in the spring 2021 issue of EU Research

The spring 2021 issue of EU Research includes a two page article on the FarFish project which can be seen here:

New tool for fisheries management

The EU Research magazine is the World leading open access publication for scientific research and dissemination. Each issue covers a different thematic area, presenting cutting edge science in an innovative and entertaining format, and reaching stakeholders, policy makers and EU officials. The article has received considerable attention and is contributing to dissemination of the project progress and results, thereby facilitating that the project will have meaningful impact.

Cover photo: LDAC