Call to boost observers’ safety

Business

THE environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature says measures to protect regional fisheries observers have not being adequately implemented.
WWF Pacific tuna programme manager Bubba Cook was commenting on the death of another Papua New Guinea fisheries observer on the job in the Pacific.
James Junior Numbaru was serving as an observer on the purse seiner Feng Xiang 818 when he was reported missing two weeks ago in Nauru waters.
His body has still not been recovered.
Nauru police ruled out foul play after a 24 hour investigation.
Cook said two years ago, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the Forum Fisheries Agency instituted
measures to address observer safety.
These included technology tools, two-way communicators, personal locator beacons as well as procedures requiring participation by both flag states and coastal states.
But he said the failure occurred in the implementation.
“Even though the initial requirements for technology were put in place back in December 2015, we’ve heard that a number of the countries still haven’t implemented that policy,” he said.
“The observers being deployed haven’t being issued those tools.
“And if they are issued those tools, there’s the bigger question of whether they are keeping those tools on their person at all times.”
Cook said there remained a need for greater transparency and record-keeping around the work of observers aboard fishing vessels in the region.

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