ICCAT Transhipment Business Ecosystem Study

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ICCAT Transhipment Business Ecosystem Study

Client: The PEW Charitable Trusts

In the context of fisheries, the practice of transhipment is generally defined as something along the lines of “the unloading of all or any fishery products on board a fishing vessel to another fishing vessel”. While the practice of transhipment has been a longstanding part of the global tuna fisheries landscape, relatively little is known about the ‘business’ of transhipment outside of the main players involved. In order to improve understanding of the sector in the ICCAT area, The Pew Charitable Trusts commissioned MRAG Asia Pacific to undertake a study of the ‘business ecosystem’ of transhipment. The study serves as a complement to a similar study completed for the Western and Central Pacific Ocean in 2019.

The main aims of the study were to:

  • Examine the history of transhipment and the circumstances which led to its growth;
  • Provide an overview of the authorised ICCAT carrier fleet involved in transhipments;
  • Examine transhipment dynamics (e.g. volumes/species involved, key transhipment
    areas/ports, main fleets, logistical/coordination arrangements between fishing vessels and
    carriers, main companies) across each of the purse seine, longline and bluefin tuna farming
    sectors; and
  • Examine some of the key business considerations which influence the operation of the
    sector (e.g. factors influencing profitability, flagging preferences, impacts of the growing
    container trade).

Importantly, it was not the aim of the study to review or critically assess the effectiveness of the current management and monitoring regimes governing transhipment activities at national or international levels.

Information to support this report was drawn from four main sources:

  • Interviews with key stakeholders (including fishing companies/associations, carrier operators, government representatives, observer service providers);
  • Corporate database searches (using the Orbis database);
  • Global Fishing Watch vessel tracking information; and
  • Other publicly available information (e.g. the ICCAT Record of Vessels, ICCAT reports, public websites, etc).