Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Members are convening in Honiara to assess the recently launched electronic Port State Measure (e-PSM) system, which enables real-time sharing of port-state information.

Since its launch three months ago, three Members – Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Tonga – have successfully adapted the e-PSM as their national system. Other Members are currently trialling the system with expectations to adapt the electronic tool in time.

A key objective of the gathering is to collect feedback from Members’ experiences with the e-PSM, discuss the challenges and gaps faced, and explore ways to enhance the system.

Development of the e-PSM aims to have a standard approach in the electronic exchange of information on port-state-measure activities, including other flag and coastal states.

The e-PSM system operationalises the Regional PSM Framework and aligns with international standards set by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) 2017-02 and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA).

Frank Taufa said his work as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer for the Ministry of Fisheries in Tonga has significantly improved since their adoption of the ePSM.

“The [e-PSM] system enhances our capacity and minimises the risks we face, especially when considering the number of fishing vessels arriving and the staff needed for boarding and inspection. Previously, our manual process was time-consuming, requiring considerable turnaround time to complete tasks at both the port and office. Now, with e-PSM, a team of one to three officers can efficiently conduct the boarding and inspection of fishing vessels.

This system is highly beneficial and aligns with our core role as enforcement officers, enabling us to generate important reports for our division and the ministry. These reports include compliance reports, IUU risk assessments, CDS, port entry authorisation reports, and details on vessel fishing activities. The information provided by e-PSM supports our aims to prevent IUU fishing and enhance transparency in port control.”

Tonga is among FFA Members who have successfully adopted the FFA e-PSM system in their national system for their fisheries monitoring work.

Frank is currently in Honiara with other FFA Members to provide their review of the e-PSM system since its launch three months ago during the MSCWG27.