Processors, traders, importers, transporters, marketers and others involved in the seafood industry may conduct transactions with those Philippine-flagged purse seiners that engage in transshipments in the WCPFC High Seas Pocket no. 1. This exemption applies only to:
- Purse seine catcher vessels with carrying capacity ≤ 600mt; and
- that fish and transship only in High Seas Pocket no. 1 and are allowed to do so by the WCPFC; and
- that are based in Philippines and are associated with processing facilities in Philippines.
The above vessels are allowed to transship on to carrier vessels that must go to a Philippines port operated by the Philippines Fisheries Development Authority for either offloading or for transshipping in port under strict monitoring controls. These carrier vessels are not allowed to take the catch directly from High Seas Pocket no. 1 waters to a port outside the Philippines.
Under Philippines regulations, the catcher and carrier vessels shall operate under the following conditions:
- Notification of transshipment is sent to the Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) (information on the catcher and carrier vessels, date and time of transshipment, and quantities by species).
- One hundred percent observer coverage on both the catcher and, in compliance with the WCPFC CMM on transshipment, the receiving vessels. The observers verify the transshipment details.
- VMS coverage on both the carrier and catcher vessels.
- A Captain/Mate’s Transfer Certificate (with details about the date, place of transshipment and fish quantities) is completed by the carrier vessel for each transshipment, with the certificates being submitted to the BFAR and the data reported to the WCPFC. The form requires signatures/verification from the captains/masters on both the catcher and carrier vessels as well as the observer/inspector on board.
For the purpose of this measure, High Seas Pocket no. 1 is the area of high seas bounded by the Exclusive Economic Zones of the Federated States of Micronesia to the north and east, Republic of Palau to the west, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to the south.