Fisheries monitoring

Providing technical support to members for the development of monitoring systems to enhance data collection for fisheries and marine ecosystems

Many Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) rely on pelagic fish stocks for food security and national revenue from foreign fishing access fees. To manage their important fisheries resources, PICTs use monitoring systems to collect catch and operational effort of the fishing fleets operating in their zones. National agencies monitor the domestic and foreign vessels that they licence; similarly regional agencies monitor the vessels operating under multilateral treaties. The monitoring data are used for stock assessment and to determine the effect of fisheries management measures.

Supporting regional coordination and standardisation

As pelagic fish are highly migratory, and stocks are dispersed across multiple exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and the high seas, the management of these fish stocks needs to be regionally consistent and coordinated. This requires the monitoring systems that collect the operational data to be compatible and preferably integrated.

The Fisheries Monitoring Section works directly with all other sections of the oceanic fisheries programme (OFP) and provides technical services to SPC members to enhance data collection and support capacity development for fisheries and marine ecosystems. We partner with national, subregional, and regional fisheries agencies to provide technical support for their fisheries monitoring programmes. Fisheries Monitoring’s role is to facilitate developing, standardising, and supporting the implementation and regional coordination of fisheries monitoring systems of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

Data Collection Committee

The SPC, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and the Office of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNAO) Data Collection Committee (DCC) is a collaborative body of regional agencies that develops the standards, specifications, and protocols for monitoring the industrial tuna fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean. Its purpose is to improve the quality and timeliness of the data available for science, compliance, and management, to enhance and streamline reporting obligations, and to provide an additional means of effective observer monitoring.


Tuvalu observer. Image: Francisco Blaha


Monitoring systems of tuna fisheries of the western and central Pacific Ocean are managed by national and subregional monitoring programmes. The monitoring tools used include observer, electronic monitoring, the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), unloading and transhipment documents, port sampling programmes and logsheets.

SPC has limited direct involvement in the data acquisition; its role is to provide technical support to the national agencies, training of field staff (under PIRFO) as well as the storage and analysis of the data collected.

Further reading