CCAMLR bites back: new rules to fight toothfish poaching

A satellite-based centralised vessel monitoring system (cVMS) to track fishing vessels seeking the valuable Patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean was adopted by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) at its recent meeting in Hobart.

The cVMS, developed and promoted by Australia, New Zealand and the United States over the last three years, will be based at the CCAMLR Headquarters in Hobart and will help CCAMLR Members to conduct surveillance and inspections of fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean. The system is also designed to complement CCAMLR’s catch documentation scheme (which tracks the taking, landing and trade of Patagonian toothfish) by allowing countries to verify that toothfish were caught where claimed.

In addition to the cVMS, CCAMLR Members agreed to improvements to the system for placing vessels on CCAMLR’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessel list, and to provide detailed information for vessels seeking a license to fish in the CCAMLR area. Information on IUU vessels and licensed vessels will now also be made publicly available on the CCAMLR website, helping to ensure that those involved in IUU fishing do not slip through the net.

Southern Ocean Conservation Unit,
Australian Antarctic Division