More than 30 major seafood companies, industry associations and pre-competitive coalitions expressed their support for addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and human rights violations to the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO), which begins its annual meeting in Ecuador today. 

“We wish to see the Commission accelerate the fight against the IUU fishing in the Convention area by implementing appropriate procedures and measures to identify infringements and violations by vessels on the high seas,” the companies wrote, in a letter submitted to the Heads of Delegation of Members and Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties (CNCPs) to the SPRFMO.

The letter asks the State Members and CNCPs to take the following actions at the 12th Annual SPRFMO meeting, which takes place all week in Manta, Ecuador:

  1. Support the introduction of labor issues to the SPRFMO agenda, including the creation of a specialized working group and the establishment of the first Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) on guidelines for crew members’ safety and equitable treatment, as proposed by the US, Ecuador, Australia and New Zealand.
  2. Amend the jumbo flying squid CMM to progressively increase onboard observer coverage to 20%, as proposed by Australia and New Zealand.
  3. Fully discuss and consider the five proposals on increasing monitoring, control and surveillance to combat IUU fishing in the jumbo flying squid fishery.

The 17 State members of the SPRFMO Commission, including the US, China and EU, will meet from January 29 to February 2 to consider proposals to improve the jumbo flying squid Conservation and Management Measures. If adopted, these actions will improve transparency and controls to prevent IUU fishing in the world’s most important squid stock.