Q1. What is the Positive List?
It is the "official register" of fishing vessels complying with
the rules. It is equivalent to the "official fishing vessel register."
It is a list of fishing vessels recognized by their flag states, and authorized
and registered by the regional fishery management organizations, as fishing
vessels operating in compliance with the rules.
Q2. Why was the Positive List designed?
Vessels fishing for tuna are required to operate in compliance with the rules of the regional fisheries management organizations established for their respective ocean areas. To evade the rules, however，illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) vessels, such as flag of convenience (FOC) vessels changing flags conveniently, have been rampant. In an effort to eliminate such vessels, the "Positive List" scheme was designed.
Q3. When was the Positive List created?
In an attempt to combat IUU vessels, work was first conducted to create a list of vessels not complying with the rules. The list of such vessels was called a "black list" or "negative list." However, such vessels often changed their flags and names and it was difficult to fully understand their actual state of affairs. Instead of the negative list, an idea was then conceived to create a list of vessels complying with the rules ("Positive List") and control the fishing operations of the vessels not on the Positive List. The idea was first adopted by the ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) at its meeting in November 2002, and other regional fisheries management organizations then followed suit.
Q4. How will the Positive List be prepared and utilized?
The member states of the regional fisheries management organizations will register the tuna fishing vessels they have recognized as the vessels complying with the rules with their respective regional fisheries management organizations. Tuna fishing vessels 24 meters or more in overall length will be subject to the positive list scheme. The member states will prohibit the fishing operation, transshipment, entry into port, and landing and trading of catches by the large-scale vessels not on the Positive List.
Q5. Will all tuna be covered by the Positive List?
Frozen bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna and swordfish will be covered by the positive list scheme. Not only whole tuna, but fillets, loins and "saku" blocks from whole tuna will also be covered. Imports of tuna will be accompanied by certificates of statistics, and it will be judged from the certificates whether the tuna concerned have been caught by vessels complying with the rules or not. If they are from vessels on the Positive List, their imports will be permitted. If not, the imports will not be permitted. The positive list scheme for Southern bluefin tuna, too, will be implemented by the end of this year.
Q6. Will the Positive List be implemented throughout the world?
The positive list scheme shall be implemented by the member states of the regional fisheries management organizations for their respective ocean areas. Major tuna fishing states are Japan, the EU and the United States, and the EU is regulating at least access to its ports and landing of catches by the vessels not on the Positive List. The United State is also working to implement the measures based on the Positive List.
Q7. Are fresh tuna not covered? .
Fresh tuna are not covered by the positive list scheme. Currently, most of the large-scale fishing vessels 24 meters or more in overall length are reefer vessels, and therefore only frozen tuna are covered by the positive list scheme.
Q8. Will the Positive List be introduced for tuna farms, too?
There has been a rapid increase in the supply of farmed tuna in recent years, but their actual state of affairs is increasingly unclear. It is also true that tuna farming operations outside the framework of the regional fisheries management organizations have been expanding. Despite the efforts to ensure the effective conservation and management and sustainable use of tuna resources worldwide, such an unclear exploitation of resources will undermine the effectiveness of resource conservation and management.In this context, ICCAT decided at its meeting in 2003 to introduce the program of positive listing of tuna farms in order to gauge their actual conditions. The program is to be implemented in the autumn of 2004.