Silicon Valley comes to the Indian Ocean

IOTC The workshop was attended by representatives of IOTC member nations, experts from the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project and RFMO representatives from around the world

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission's (IOTC) has hosted a workshop in Cape Town to present its proposed e-MARIS electronic monitoring and reporting information system, and to provide an opportunity for experts to discuss and assess its features.

The workshop was attended by IOTC member countries and experts from the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project and regional fisheries management bodies including the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC) and the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA).

A project to develop e-MARIS was initiated in response to the findings made during the IOTC performance reviews, and the realisation there was a need to simplify the reporting of information from IOTC members and make the best use of web-based processes. To this end, the IOTC Secretariat designed the main functional specifications of e-MARIS, and organised the October workshop to present and get feedback on the proposed system.

The three-day workshop was led by Florian Giroux of the IOTC Secretariat, who, together with Fabio Fiorellato and Olivier Roux, presented the context and methodology of the system. ICCAT and NPFC experts contributed by sharing aspects of their organisations' compliance and reporting processes, followed by presentations on the global scope of e-MARIS, and the benefits of adopting such a tool. On the second day the workshop participants rolled their sleeves up and examined the nuts and bolts of the system's features. NPFC and SIOFA Secretariats showed interest in the system especially because it has the potential to make their reporting of information easier and more streamlined. Both NPFC and SIOFA indicated that they will continue to follow the process with the aim of adopting similar specifications for their own future needs.

On the third and final day, the workshop concentrated on summarising all the inputs and useful suggestions provided over the previous days. As a final note, all participants fully endorsed the concept and specifications (with the inclusion of several additional features suggested during the workshop), and strongly encouraged the IOTC Secretariat to move forward with the development of e-MARIS as soon as possible. The results of the workshop will be presented to the next IOTC Compliance Committee meeting in 2018.

The workshop was supported by the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project that is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the implementing agency. The Project harnesses the efforts of a large and diverse array of partners including the five tuna-RFMOs, governments, inter-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and private sector, with the aim to achieve responsible, efficient and sustainable tuna production and biodiversity conservation in the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).

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