Ensuring Pacific Island regional fisheries observers, at all operational levels, are equipped to provide a competent observer service to fleets fishing in the region
Working alongside the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), SPC FAME supports its members' capacity to monitor fisheries activities through targeted training and accreditation. Ensuring that this training is of sufficient quality to meet international expectations and equips the observers with skills and qualifications for career development is at the heart of the Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observer (PIRFO) training framework.
There are 15 Pacific Island country and territory (PICT) national agencies whose fisheries observer programmes operate under the PIRFO training standards. PIRFO standards incorporate a suite of qualifications for fisheries observers, observer debriefers, observer trainers, assessors and even port samplers, E-monitoring analysts, and transhipment monitors. PIRFO qualifications are designed to progress knowledge and skills towards specific monitoring roles and to create a career pathway in fisheries monitoring.
PIRFO standards evolve to reflect the developing regional requirements of fisheries monitoring to ensure monitoring staff are competent to carry out the duties required. The qualifications are managed though an annual meeting of the PIRFO Certification Management Committee (CMC), whose role is overseeing the development, accreditation, and maintenance of standards for training and certification of PIRFO at all levels. The PIRFO CMC is composed of representatives of regional agencies and nominated national agencies to represent the regional composition of PICTs ensuring the Micronesian, Polynesian and Melanesian are equally represented. Ownership of PIRFO is held by the participating monitoring programmes.
Recently three of the qualifications - Observer, Debriefer and Debriefer Assessor - were independently recognised by the Education Quality Assessment Programme (EQAP) as the regional qualification standards of qualification for these jobs. The Pacific Board for Education Quality approved the qualifications under the Pacific Qualifications Framework (PQF), and they are now listed on the Pacific Register of Qualifications and Standards. PIRFO has been trademarked to protect the qualification.