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In these reports, we share our research-based recommendations for sustainable tuna fisheries management, covering observer programs, transshipment, and many other key topics.

Best practices reports are authored by our fisheries policy experts and/or fisheries scientists. See also our companion “best practices snapshots” series and our scientific reports.

ISSF 2023-07: Tuna RFMO Authorised Vessel Lists: A Comparative Analysis to Identify Best Practices*

Date Added: June 6, 2023
Authors: Claire van der Geest
Downloaded: 16 times
Tags: Best Practices, CCSBT, IATTC, ICCAT, IOTC, MCS, RFMOs, Vessel Lists, WCPFC
Language: English
Featured: True
Report Type: Technical Report


Authorised vessel lists are a fundamental part of a robust fisheries management system. They create a of vessels that have been permitted by their flag State to be operating in that RFMO and for species under the RFMO’s remit, they are also known as “positive” or “white” list. RFMOs create authorised vessel lists to strengthen the flag State’s exercise of its responsibility for all vessels flying its flag, thereby supporting the basic tenet of international fisheries law, flag State primacy.

Given the global nature of the industrialised tuna fishing fleet, tuna RFMOs must expand the application of the measure such that it includes all vessels involved in tuna fisheries. It would be advantageous to harmonise RFMO measures to review the data fields to ensure that they are fit for purpose as an effective tool for undertaking monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) by both on-water and/or aerial surveillance assets.  It is also important to ensure that Secretariats are empowered to remove IUU-listed vessels and any vessel that does not have a complete set of minimum data fields. Strong and fit for purpose authorised fishing measures must also integrate and work in concert with other MCS and management measures to ensure that the management system is robust and operates efficiently.

See also our RFMO Best Practices Snapshot on authorised vessel lists.