Pacific Observer data- driving the science, underpinning enforcement in Tuna fisheries

Monday 30th May 2016, FFA HQ-Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS --They are the front-line of fisheries management and the back-row when it comes to visibility, but almost 760 Pacific Tuna Fisheries Observers are likely the most valuable 'phantoms' representing our eyes on the region's multi-billion dollar resource-- tuna. They can spend months at a stretch stationed on purse seiners or long lining vessels, observing, noting, recording, and reporting back to base all that they have seen when it comes to the rules for fishing in Pacific EEZs. Over the weekend, a group of regional fisheries observers returned from FFA's Honiara HQ to their homes in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Nauru and the Marshall Islands after two weeks of introductory training to the next level-- formal debriefing. For FFA's deputy Director-General Wez Norris and Operations Director Noan Pakop, the commitment and learning from the group will help to meet growing demand for seasoned Debriefer experts.
“Observer data informs decision making, drives science and underpins enforcement," says DDG Norris, "It is a difficult and dangerous job and all we are all thankful for the work they do." Observer data can’t be fully used until it has been reviewed through the formal debriefing process. Says Norris: "this has been a bottleneck for us since the rapid expansion of the observer program. We are very grateful to the senior observers that participated in this course for their willingness to step up and assume the responsibility of being debriefers.”
Presenting the nine trainee Debriefers with their stage one completion certificates, DDG Norris noted the group will have two more stages to complete before they join 80 Debriefers in the PIRFO system, "but based on the performance of all the participants in the first phase we are confident that the region’s debriefing capability will be substantially enhanced in the not-too-distant future.” --ENDS