The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC),
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the need to increase the scientific information, in particular to provide the IOTC Scientific Committee working material in order to improve the management of the tuna and tuna-like species fished in the Indian Ocean;
REITERATING the responsibilities of flag States to ensure that their vessels conduct their fishing activities in a responsible manner, fully respecting IOTC Conservation and Management Measures;
CONSIDERING the need for action to ensure the effectiveness of the IOTC objectives;
CONSIDERING the obligation of all IOTC Contracting Parties and Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties (hereinafter CPCs) to fully comply with the IOTC Conservation and Management Measures;
AWARE of the necessity for sustained efforts by CPCs to ensure the enforcement of IOTC's Conservation and Management Measures, and the need to encourage Non-Contracting Parties (NCPs) to abide by these measures;
UNDERLINING that the adoption of this measure is intended to help support the implementation of Conservation and Management Measures as well as scientific research for tuna and tuna-like species;
CONSIDERING the provisions set forth in Resolution 10/04 On A Regional Observer Scheme [superseded by resolution 11/04], adopted by the Commission;
CONSIDERING the deliberations of the 12th Session of the IOTC Scientific Committee held in Victoria, Seychelles from 30 November to 4 December 2009
ADOPTS, in accordance with the provisions of Article IX, paragraph 1 of the IOTC Agreement, the following:
The objective of the IOTC observer scheme shall be to collect verified catch data and other scientific data related to the fisheries for tuna and tuna-like species in the IOTC area of competence.
In order to improve the collection of scientific data, at least 5 % of the number of operations/sets for each gear type by the fleet of each CPC while fishing in the IOTC area of competence of 24 meters overall length and over, and under 24 meters if they fish outside their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) shall be covered by this observer scheme. For vessels under 24 meters if they fish outside their EEZ, the above mentioned coverage should be achieved progressively by January 2013.
When purse seiners are carrying an observer1 as stated in paragraph 1, this observer shall also monitor the catches at unloading to identify the composition of bigeye tuna catches. The requirement for the observer to monitor catches at unloading is not applicable to CPCs already having a sampling scheme, with at least the coverage set out in paragraph 2.
The number of the artisanal fishing vessels landings shall also be monitored at the landing place by field samplers2. The indicative level of the coverage of the artisanal fishing vessels should progressively increase towards 5% of the total levels of vessel activity (i.e. total number of vessel trips or total number of vessels active).
The cost of the observer scheme in paragraph 2 and 3 shall be met by each CPC.
The sampling scheme referred in paragraph 4 will be covered by the Commission's accumulated funds and voluntary contribution on a provisional basis. The Commission will consider an alternative for the financing of this scheme.
If the coverage referred in paragraphs 2 and 3 is not met by a CPC, any other CPC may, subject to the consent of the CPC who has not met its coverage, place an observer to fulfil the tasks defined in the paragraphs 1 and 2 until that CPC provides a replacement or the target coverage level is met.
CPCs shall provide to the IOTC Executive Secretary and the IOTC Scientific Committee annually a report of the number of vessels monitored and the coverage achieved by gear type in accordance with the provisions of this Resolution.
The observer shall, within 30 days of completion of each trip, provide a report to the CPCs of the vessel. The CPCs shall send within 150 days at the latest each report, as far as continuous flow of report from observer placed on the longline fleet is ensured, which is recommended to be provided with 1°x1° format to the IOTC Executive Secretary, who shall make the report available to the IOTC Scientific Committee upon request. In a case where the vessel is fishing in the EEZ of a coastal State, the report shall equally be submitted to that coastal State.
Field samplers shall monitor catches at the landing place with a view to estimating catch-at-size by type of boat, gear and species, or carry out such scientific work as requested by the IOTC Scientific Committee.
The funds available from the IOTC balance of funds may be used to support the implementation of this programme in developing States, notably the training of observers and field samplers.
The elements of the Observer Scheme, notably those regarding its coverage, are subject to review and revision, as appropriate, for application in 2012 and subsequent years. Basing on the experience of other Tuna RFMOs, the IOTC Scientific Committee will elaborate an observer working manual, a template to be used for reporting (including minimum data fields) and a training program.
This Resolution supersedes Resolution 10/04 On A Regional Observer Scheme.
1. Observer: a person who collects information on board fishing vessels. Observer programmes can be used for quantifying species composition of target species, bycatch, by-products and dead discards, collecting tag returns, etc.
2. Field sampler: a person who collects information on land during the unloading of fishing vessels. Field sampling programmes can be used for quantifying catch, retained bycatch, collecting tag returns, etc.