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Training Framework

Learn more about the PIRFO Training Framework

Training Framework

The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Pacific Community (SPC) have for many years supported their members' capacity to monitor fisheries activities through targeted training under the Pacific Island Regional Fisheries Observer (PIRFO) banner to provide observers for their members’ national and subregional fisheries observer programmes operating in the region. 

To ensure that the quality of the training of observers met international expectations and could withstand scrutiny by third parties it was decided to embrace the competency based system of training and assessment now universally used for vocational training. Competency based training and assessment (CBT&A) is underpinned by standards, or units of competency that define the levels of competence expected in the workplace for each job role. 

This led to the development of observer standards for the PIRFO training programme, which were soon followed by debriefer standards, observer training and assessing standards and more recently observer programme frontline management standards. These standards have subsequently been recognised and endorsed by the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC67) and are recognised by the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Regional Observer Programme (ROP) as appropriate to provide observers to the ROP.

Targeted standards to cover specific skill sets such as report electronically, interpret electronic monitoring operations and monitor and apply chain of custody processes and procedures have also been developed in recent years to provide endorsements for observers who may need those extra skills in undertaking their duties. It is expected that standards to cover specialised areas such as transhipping will also need to developed in the future. 


To ensure that standards remain relevant they need to be periodically reviewed and updated. A PIRFO review process was commissioned in 2016 and again in 2019. This reviewed and revised Framework was approved by ROCW20 and a new edition published, PIRFO Training Framework . The aim of the document is to provide a quality framework for training and assessing people working in the regional observer programmes. 
The framework specifies the units of learning for Observers, Debriefers and Debriefer Mentors & Assessors and the minimum requirements of PIRFO Trainers and National Observer Programme Managers. It also outlines PIRFO micro-qualifications and skill sets for Port Sampling, Electronic Reporting, Chain of Custody, Electronic Monitoring and Biological Sampling. This Framework provides management of the suite of PIRFO qualification rules through, qualification packaging rules, pre-requisites employability skills and standards for training institutes to be accredited to deliver PIRFO training, The Framework defines the role of the PIRFO Certification Management Committee (CMC) to provide governance for  PIRFO in overseeing assessment policy and processes.


The original observer standards have served the Western & Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) tuna fishery well and provided an excellent quality framework for the training and performance of fisheries observers in the region, however like all standards they need to be fluid and change with the times to maintain relevance. The document has revamped observer standards and a mapping table showing how the new standards align with the old standards. It would be expected that this framework will be continually updated on a needs basis and a more formal review should take place periodically (3-5 years) to ensure they remain current to the needs of the WCPO fishery as new situations and issues evolve.