Conservation Measure (CM) 22-06 requires the Secretariat to maintain an inventory of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) in the Convention Area for circulation to Contracting Parties and other relevant bodies. In addition, CM 22-07 requires the Secretariat to notify fishing vessels in the relevant fishery and their Flag States of the location of VME risk areas and fine-scale rectangles. The Secretariat has established an interim VME registry for archiving notifications of encounters with VMEs during the course of research surveys (CM 22-06) and VME-indicator notifications from fishing vessels (CM 22-07). The registry operates within the existing CCAMLR database infrastructure, with data being stored in the Secretariat’s secure Data Centre. Information on new VME risk areas or fine-scale rectangles is emailed to fishing vessels and their Flag States within one working day of receipt. An up-to-date list of risk areas and fine-scale rectangles for each fishery is distributed in the fishery summary reports which the Secretariat emails regularly to Flag States and their vessels participating in exploratory bottom fisheries. Further development of the registry is required to meet all of the requirements of CM 22-06, and some options may include the development web-based components, user-defined maps, public access sections and links with other, related regional and global programs. In the longer term, some components of the registry may be extended to further support CCAMLR’s scientific and management work on VMEs. WG-FSA, the Scientific Committee and the Commission may wish to advise on a suitable work plan for the development of the VME registry, including consideration of data confidentiality issues and budget implication.
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