Marshall Islands fisheries agency wins ‘Stop IUU Fishing’ award


The Marshall Islands fisheries authority was honored with an international award last week recognizing its work to prevent illegal fishing.

At a ceremony during the 7th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop organised by the International Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network in Halifax, Canada, the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority was recognised for operating world class “port state measures.” The port state work is designed to monitor and control transshipments in Majuro, the world’s busiest tuna transshipment port.

The award not only recognised the excellence of the systems in place and the work of fisheries authority’s Oceanic Division fisheries officers but also its outstanding level of transparency and collaboration with technology providers as part of a multi-layered monitoring, control and surveillance program for the multi-billion dollar tuna fishery in the region.

Since the early 2010s, Majuro developed into the busiest tuna transshipment port in the world, with hundreds of transshipments of tuna from purse seiners to carrier vessels for later shipment to canneries worldwide.

“This is a culmination of the good hard work, cooperation and collaboration over the years with Majuro port as a major transshipment hub,” said Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Director Glen Joseph, who was on hand to receive the award with some of the authority’s Oceanic Division staff. Joseph thanked “everyone who has helped us one way or another in catering for our work.”

He singled out the monitoring, control and surveillance “practitioners” as well as “the industry, whom, fair to say, have led us to this moment.”

The award recognised the long-term collaboration and the leading role that the Marshall Islands has played with regional fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance institutions such as the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and the International Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network, on which Joseph serves as vice chair. The award also honors the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority for its work at the bilateral level with many partners such as Thailand’s Department of Fisheries and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade that has supported the work of a fisheries advisor working with the Oceanic Division operations since 2018.

“This award and recognition is a testament that despite our small administration and limited technical and financial capacity, it can be done,” said Joseph, adding this was possible “with the right network and tools available in the region. Now let’s continue building on the good work.”

During the award ceremony, the chair of the International Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network, Gary Orr, highlighted the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority’s contribution to the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported or IUU fishing globally, saying that the fisheries authority was:

• Leading national and regional anti-IUU activities through implementation of world-class port state measures best practices.

• Supporting a rights-based management approach to the world’s largest tuna fishery.

• Ensuring robust, efficient, and effective collaboration amongst all Forum Fisheries Agency and Parties to the Nauru Agreement member countries.

• Sustaining regional focus to promote uniform and transparent Monitoring, Control and Surveillance.

• Using innovative and cutting-edge information technology solutions, including electronic monitoring and reporting.

Orr further recognised the fisheries authority for encouraging women to take up work in the authority, and for the authority’s high levels of transparency and information available on its website