Fishing gear reporting requirements

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is working on global requirements for reporting lost or discharged fishing gear.

Existing global reporting requirements  

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) requires ship operators to report the loss or discharge of fishing gear '…that poses a significant threat to the marine environment or navigation'.  

Operators must report losses to the ship’s flag State authority and the coastal State authority where the loss occurred. Where a loss has occurred within the EEZ of another country, a report will also need to be made to that coastal State’s authority.

For example, Australian ships must report to:  

  • AMSA
  • the coastal State authority in whose waters the loss occurred.  

Proposed new global reporting requirements  

The IMO has agreed to expand the MARPOL requirements so that all fishing gear losses and discharges from commercial operations must be reported. Not just losses and discharges which pose a 'significant threat'.  

The IMO is still considering the details of the new requirements, such as:

  • the type of information to report (for example, type and volume of gear lost, location of loss)
  • the type or scope of fishing operations covered
  • how requirements can avoid doubling reporting efforts and how the IMO will protect commercial and private information.  

Under the new requirements, countries will also report fishing gear lost and discharged by their flagged ships to the IMO.

The expanded reporting requirements will be for commercial operations. They will not include recreational vessels.  

Learn more about the changes and Australia's position on the new requirements.