The ICCAT Regional Observer Programme for eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna (ROP-BFT) was adopted in 2008 and amended in 2010 and again in 2012 through the Recommendation by ICCAT Amending the Recommendation 13-07 by ICCAT to Establish a Multi-Annual Recovery Plan for Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean [14-04] to ensure 100% coverage:
- On all purse seiners authorised to fish bluefin tuna.
- During all transfers of bluefin tuna from purse seiners.
- During all transfers of bluefin tuna from traps to transport cages.
- During all cagings of bluefin tuna in farms.
- During all harvesting of bluefin tuna from farms.
Since April 2010, the ROP-BFT has been operated on behalf of ICCAT by a consortium between Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG) and COFREPECHE (Cofrepêche). The MRAG/COFREPECHE Consortium carries out observer recruitment and training, equipment purchases and observer deployments under the supervision of the Secretariat.
Observers will be deployed only if the following conditions are met:
- The vessel farming facility or trap is authorized to operate and is included in the ICCAT Record of BFT Catching Vessels, BFT Farming Facilities or ICCAT Record BFT Traps
- The vessel/farm/trap operator has paid the fees associated with the observer deployment. For details on fees, please see ICCAT Circular 1957-18.
For a list of ICCAT Observers, please Click here
Authorities from participating Parties/Entities can request that an observer be deployed by making a request to the ICCAT Secretariat. Planning for and executing an observer deployment can be complex and time-consuming. Ensuring that the following steps are followed is essential for a successful deployment:
- Ensure that the vessel/farming facility/trap is authorized to operate.
- Details about the vessel/farm/trap and its operators, the time period for fishing or for when transfers of fish will be made, the time period of harvests, etc.
- Ensure that the Request Form is submitted as early as possible to give sufficient time for an observer deployment to be organized. Initial requests for vessels should be made by 27 April 2017, and changes no later than 96 hours in advance of the required embarkation time of the observer. Requests for observers on farms should be made as early as possible, and no later than 96 hours in advance of deployment.
- Ensure that the vessel/farming facility/trap has paid the fees for the observer deployment.
- Facilitate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Consortium that operates the ROP-BFT and the vessel/farm/trap operator. The MOU is essential to ensure the safety and adequate working conditions of the observer while deployed.