The Regional Observer Programme (ROP) was established on the 15th February 2008, through the ‘Conservation and Management Measure for the Regional Observer Programme – CMM 2007-01’. CMM 2007-01 provides for the gradual development of the ROP through existing regional, sub-regional and national observer programmes. The definition of an ROP trip and the requirement by Cooperating Commission Members (CCMs) to provide ROP data to the WCPFC Secretariat have been clearly stated in the Convention and in CMM 2007-01.
The SPC/OFP has been processing observer data on behalf of their member countries for more than 15 years. Continuing this role in respect of the ROP data has been identified as one of a number of potential options by the WCPFC members (see http://www.wcpfc.int/doc/wcpfc6-2009ip08/rop-data-administration-and-management
The significant increase in observer coverage as a result of CMM 2008-01 (100% coverage in the purse seine fishery starting in 2010 and 5% coverage in the Longline fishery starting 2012) has created overwhelming stress on the resources required to undertake observer data collection and management in regional and national fisheries offices.
During the 2009-2010, the SPC/OFP employed four dedicated ROP data entry staff to cover the increase in data collected as a result of CMM 2008-01, and with the expectation of an increased WCPFC budget in late 2010, at least seven additional staff should be employed from 2011 onwards.
This project has the goal of ensuring ROP data are processed, audited and made available for the work of the Commission in a timely manner by working with existing regional, sub-regional and national observer programmes and the WCPFC Secretariat.