The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) is delighted to announce that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), at its 2020 annual meeting, has accorded The Bahamas the status of Cooperating Non-Member (CNM) within the organisation. This decision not only recognises The Bahamas’ non-compromising commitment to transparency, regulatory compliance and better control over fishing-related activities by the Bahamas fleet, but also strengthens its position as a strong supporter of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations’ (RFMO) efforts in total eradication of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing practices on a global scale.
The WCPFC was established in 2004 on the basis of the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stock in the Western and Central Pacific region. The Commission is acting as the regulatory authority in the management of high seas fisheries activities and conservation efforts in the convention area.
Cooperation with WCPFC paves the way for The Bahamas to establish a fisheries cargoes transhipment authorisation program with the Commission. The program will allow reefer carriers flying The Bahamas flag to undertake high-seas transhipment of cargoes originated from the WCPFC regulatory area. Such cooperation will open new commercial opportunities to Bahamian flagged reefers available through the Transhipment Authorisation program enrolment and allocation to the list of WCPFC Fishing Vessels.
Captain Dwain Hutchinson, the BMA Managing Director and CEO, said: “Cooperation with the WCPFC will facilitate the way the Bahamas flagged reefer ships operate in the Western and Central Pacific region and will bring new prospects for cooperation in promoting sustainable fishing. We look forward to continuing to offer quality services to all registered ships and welcome the opportunity to discuss our commitments with any stakeholder.”
In line with existing programs already in place with NEAFC, ICCAT and the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate, the WCPFC Transhipment Authorisations will be issued to qualifying reefer ships on submission of an application by the managing Company. The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources (DMR), in collaboration with The BMA, ensures the regulatory control, monitoring and licensing activities in establishing and maintaining the fisheries cargoes Transhipment Authorisation programs world-wide.