Acting DG (right) Benjamin Shing unveiling screen assisted by Deputy Director of Fisheries William Naviti

For the first time ever, all tuna monitoring officers will start monitoring all fishing activities on Vanuatu-flagged fishing vessels and Vanuatu registered fishing vessels by satellite in their air condition offices, without leaving home.

Acting Director General (DG) of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity Benjamin Shing has launched Vanuatu’s first Electronic Monitoring (emonitoring) and Surveillance System on the Municipal Stage at the Seafront on World Tuna Day on May 2.

The state of the art Information Communication Technology (ICT) Tool is now used by fisheries observers in the Department of Fisheries to monitor all types of fish caught and how big and record all required data on the fishing boat.

“The fisheries monitoring officer will do all that without leaving the comfort of his or her office”, the Acting DG said.

“The newly introduced tool will help Vanuatu big time in carrying out coverage of our observers on our fishing vessels as well as all foreign fishing vessels that operate in our waters”.

The introduction of the surveillance tool must be music to the ears of surveillance officers since it reduces reports that they are not well treated by vessel’s captains and their crew and some have allegedly lost their lives at at sea.

Furthermore the Acting DG said Vanuatu used to have over 100 fishing vessels operating on our high seas legally.

However the number of observers on the vessels did not exceed 50 which meant some of those vessels had no observers on them to check if they complied with our fishing rules such as the sizes of the fish caught and if some were of endangered species.

“This is why it is vital that while we train our new monitoring officers, we also have this emonitoring system to monitor all vessels that fly the Vanuatu flag as well as all those that are registered in Vanuatu to fish in our waters”, he said.

The Acting DG also paused to congratulate all 34 ni-Vanuatu monitoring officers at present who risk their lives on the high seas to provide much needed data and information on fishing activities in the oceans of the world.

He said, “These are our unsung heroes who leave their loved ones behind while they work on the high seas day and night for three, four, five months up to a year, to make sure that Vanuatu complies with international regulations”.

The reality is that people do not notice these brave professionals and some do not even know there are ni Vanuatu specialists out there on the ocean waves to help the Government to comply with its international obligations.

the Acting DG said, “The performances of these quiet observers are well recognised by WGPFG, FFA and SPC.

“Based on the positive reports received on our silent observers, this new emonitoring system is set up to improve their performances to assist Fisheries and Government to comply with fisheries activities”.

He labelled the launching a “historic milestone in fisheries monitoring compliance since independence” 38 years ago.

“It is the biggest achievement we have made so far in terms of compliance to establish emonitoring system. I am taking this opportunity to launch for the first time this nationally produced locally owned Vanuatu emonitoring system”, he said to loud applause.

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