Commercial fishing vessels in the Pacific could see regional fisheries observers returning to their decks as early as January next year.
Prior to the pandemic there were around 800 regional fisheries observers on board vessels in the region.
These independent witnesses spent weeks - sometimes months - collecting objective data relating to the volume and type of fish, what methods were used to catch fish, and any observed breaches of fishing rules.
But in April 2020, with borders all over the world closing to slow the spread of Covid-19, a consensus was reached at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission - also known as the Pacific Tuna Commission - to suspend the regional observer program.
There are concerns the three-year-absence of these observers from commercial fishing vessels has been detrimental to the regulation of the world's largest tuna fishery.
This is because of the crucial role observers play in ensuring conservation rules protecting fish, turtles, birds, and other marine life are adhered to.
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