The Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) coordinates the Joint Deployment Plan (JDP) for the bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic waters for 2010, the vehicle through which it coordinates the pooling of means by Member States, both material and human, in order to carry out control, inspection and surveillance of fishery activities both at sea and ashore. The plan brings together the Commission, Member States and the CFCA, counts on the resources of the seven Member States involved in the fishery - Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain - and covers all stages in the market chain, including controls at sea, ashore, and at fattening farms.
"Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain join forces by pooling their control means (inspection vessels and aircraft as well as inspectors) under the JDP adopted by the CFCA in order to ensure a uniform and effective control of all fishing vessels (EU and third country vessels) participating in the BFT fishery in the Mediterranean. The EU is a front runner in enhancing control and inspection activities targeting this fishery serving as a good example towards the rest of contracting parties in the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). It is a major contribution to the protection of the bluefin tuna fishery that has been overfished for decades," said Harm Koster, Executive Director of the CFCA.
The JDP for this fishery is the third of its kind after the experience of the two previous years which have proven the improvement in the control of this fishery through the JDPs. The great novelty this year is that during the purse seiners peak season the CFCA will charter an EU inspection vessel for the control campaign that, together with the Member States means, will enhance the inspection activities in the area. The EU offers this vessel for enhancing cooperation with other Mediterranean states involved in the BFT fishery. Building on the know-how acquired in the previous years, the campaign will be based on a risk analysis process. On another point, training of inspectors in order to improve the quality of the inspections is one of the priorities.
The results of the JDP in 2009 have been very positive. The CFCA coordinated joint inspection and control activities involving 11 high seas patrol vessels, 18 coastal patrol vessels and 9 airplanes/helicopters. There were 202 days of control campaign on land, 267 at sea and 218 hours of aerial surveillance and more than 700 hundred inspections were undertaken. Most of these inspections were carried out by joint inspection teams composed of different Member States. It should be noted that the number of apparent infringements detected in 2009 slightly decreased. In addition, an important achievement of the 2009 JDP was the absence of spotting airplanes during the 2009 purse seine season.
The joint control, inspection and surveillance activities carried out under the JDP are coordinated by a special Technical Joint Deployment Group (TJDG) which is seated at the CFCA premises in Vigo from 1 April and will remain operational until the end of July, period of the core fishing season. The TJDG is composed of national coordinators designated by the Member States concerned and supported by the CFCA's own coordinators. The TJDG decide both an overall strategy and recommendations for daily control, inspection and surveillance activities, on the basis of the daily data and information received from the Member States administrations and ICCAT, in particular VMS data and catch information, and interface with the Commission's inspectors and services.