A new system of Observation, Inspection, Compliance and Enforcement extending and consolidating current rules are a very positive outcome which also moves towards a harmonisation with practices undertaken by other RMFOs. The only outstanding element for a comprehensive system, namely the "inspection at sea" programme will be tackled next year. This can be seen as another positive step in the on-going fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).
SEAFO also adopted an EU/Norwegian co-sponsored proposal regarding dispute settlements which follows up on a performance review recommendation and brings more clarity to this process.
With regard to the conservation of demersal species the good news is that the EU's strong position of following scientific advice was followed and the TACs for Red Crab, Orange Roughy, Alfonsino and Patagonian Toothfish were rolled over as recommended by the Scientific Committee. The adoption of several other recommendations by the Scientific Committee, such as more stringent catch reporting, amendments to the rules on exploratory fishing, the elaboration of a specifies identification guide are welcomed as well and will certainly help to improve the science base of SEAFO.
However, the Commission is disappointed about the disregard by one Contracting Party of the latest scientific advice regarding the revised threshold for species indicators for the identification of vulnerable marine ecosystems and precautionary TAC levels for Armourhead. The absence of decisions jeopardises the protection of VMEs and the viability of armourhead and blackbelly stocks in the South East Atlantic Ocean.
Background: SEAFO is the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation responsible for the regulation and management of non-tuna species in the South-East Atlantic high seas. The EU is a full member of SEAFO and plays a leading role in its efforts towards sustainable fishing. Other contracting parties include Angola, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Namibia, Norway.