SEAFO employs an ecosystem and precautionary approach to fisheries management when deciding on management and conservation measures. The Commission adopts resolutions and recommendations based on scientific advice from the Scientific Committee; and monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) advice from the Compliance Committee.
It is the responsibility of each SEAFO Contracting Party to ensure that regulations are being adhered to by vessels of their flag State Contracting Party. Contracting Parties have the obligation to ensure that legal proceedings are being undertaken to mitigate infringements of SEAFOs conservation and enforcement regulations.
SEAFO has adopted several measures to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fisheries (IUU) fishing. The Commission has banned at-sea transhipments in the SEAFO CA; implemented an authorized vessel list; and established an IUU vessel list that incorporates vessels found on NEAFC, NAFO and CCAMLR IUU lists.
The Commission has also implemented management measures for the protection of deep-sea sharks by banning sharks as a directed species. Vessels are also expected to report all catches of sharks, have full utilization and retention (not including gut, skin and head), and not have fins that total more than 5% of the weight of sharks onboard.
Management measures have also been put in place to reduce incidental bycatch of seabirds in the SEAFO Convention Area, and to improve reporting of bycatch of sea turtles with the intent of reducing mortality due to fishing operations.
SEAFO has also recommended a ban on all use of gillnets in the Convention Area, and has adopted stringent protocol for retrieval and reporting of lost gear.
SEAFO has developed a comprehensive strategy to monitor, survey and control the fisheries. All vessels are required to:
- be formally authorised to fish;
- report catches on a 5-day interval;
- report VMS positions on a 2-hourly interval;
- have an independent scientific observer onboard;
- comply with port inspection procedures; and
- not make transhipments in the SEAFO CA.