Bycatch - Policy and rules

Conservation and management measures (CMMs)

Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs) describe binding decisions agreed by the members (including all 14 Small Island Developing States) and cooperating non-members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) at their annual meetings. The latest updates to CMMs are maintained by WCPFC.

CMMs direct the Small Island Developing States’ policies and rules aimed at reducing the effects of fishing on other animals such as sharks, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds.

WCPFC reference

Brief summary of main measures

FADS

 

2017-01, Bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the Western & Central Pacific Ocean (non-entangling FADS)

 

  • Encourage the use of non-entangling design and materials when constructing FADs – to reduce entanglement of marine species
  • Promote the use of natural or biodegradable materials to avoid synthetic marine debris
  • The Scientific Committee will continue to review research and recommend the best materials to use and the Commission will consider adopting new measures regarding materials used in FADs in 2018.

Sharks

2010-07, Sharks (in general)

 

  • Implement the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks and report annually on national plans of actions.
  • Include measures to minimise waste and discards from shark catches and encourage the live release of incidental shark catches.
  • Include data in annual reports about shark species, including retained and discarded catches.
  • Support research and development for avoiding unwanted shark catches (e.g. chemical, magnetic and rare-earth-metal shark deterrents).
  • Ensure fishers fully use any retained catches of sharks (including all parts of the shark excepting head, guts and skin).
  • Require vessels to ensure shark fins make up no more than 5% of the weight of sharks on board the vessel, and ensure fins are attached to carcasses.
  • Prohibit fishing vessels from retaining, shipping, landing or trading any shark fins.

2014-05, Sharks (longline fishing)

  • Ensure longline fishing vessels targeting tuna and Billfish do not: (a) use or carry wire trace as branch lines or leaders; or (b) use branch lines running directly off the longline floats or droplines, known as shark lines.
  • Develop and implement management plans including fishing authorisations (or licences) for any longline fishing vessels targeting sharks. Plans must include details of how the fishery will avoid catching and maximise live releasing of highly depleted shark species, such as silky and oceanic whitetip sharks, caught incidentally.

2011-04, Oceanic whitetip sharks

  • Prohibit vessels from retaining, transhipping, storing or landing any part of an oceanic whitetip shark.
  • Ensure vessels release any oceanic whitetip sharks as soon as possible and in such a way as to minimise harm to the animals.
  • Estimate, through data collected by observers and other means, the number of releases of oceanic whitetip shark and the status of such sharks (dead/alive), and report annually.
  • Observers may collect biological samples from dead oceanic whitetip sharks, provided this is part of an approved research program.

2012-04, Protection of whale sharks from purse seining operations

  • Prohibit vessels from setting a purse seine on a school of tuna when a whale shark is sighted before commencement of the set.
  • Ensure the safe release of any whale sharks accidentally encircled in a purse-seine net, and report the details of such incidents.
  • Keep the safety of the crew as a paramount concern over any efforts to release whale sharks.

2013-08, Silky sharks

  • Prohibit vessels from retaining, transhipping, storing or landing any part of a silky shark.
  • Ensure vessels release any silky sharks as soon as possible and in such a way as to minimise harm to the animals.
  • Estimate, through data collected by observers and other means, the number of releases of silky sharks, the status of such sharks (dead/alive), and report annually.
  • Observers may collect biological samples from dead silky sharks, provided this is part of an approved research program.
Data collected by observers helps research into reducing bycatch. Men on a beach in Kiribati measuring fish in bycatch
Data collected by observers helps research into reducing bycatch. Photo credit: Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

Other species

2008-03, Sea turtles

  • Implement FAO Guidelines to Reduce Sea Turtle Mortality in Fishing Operations, and ensure the safe handling of all captured turtles.
  • Ensure fishers bring on board any captured hard-shell turtle that is comatose or inactive, and foster its recovery before returning it to the water.
  • Ensure operators of purse-seine vessels (a) avoid encircling sea turtles, and if accidentally entangled that they are safely released; (b) release all sea turtles entangled in FADs or other fishing gear; (c) stop net roll if a turtle is entangled and release it before continuing the net roll; and (d) carry and use dip nets to handle turtles.
  • Ensure operators of longline fishing vessels carry and use line cutters, de-hookers and dip nets to handle and promptly release any turtles caught or entangled.
  • Ensure longline vessels fishing for swordfish where they are likely to have significant interactions with turtles in shallow waters reduce their impact on turtles by using circle hooks, whole finfish bait or another approved measure.
  • Require fishing vessel operators to record and report all incidents involving turtles.
  • Report the results of any research into modified FADs that avoid turtle entanglement.

2011-03, Impacts of purse seine fishing on cetaceans - whales and dolphins

  • Prohibit vessels from setting a purse seine on a school of tuna when a cetacean is sighted before commencement of the set.
  • Ensure the safe release of any cetacean accidentally encircled in a purse-seine net, and report the details of such incidents.
  • Keep the safety of the crew as a paramount concern over any efforts to release cetacean animals.

2017-06, Mitigating impacts of fishing on seabirds

  • Implement the FAO International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catches of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (IPOA-Seabirds).
  • Report on how IPOA-Seabirds is implemented, including national plans of action for reducing incidental catches of seabirds in longline fisheries.
  • Require longline vessels fishing south of 30°S to use at least 2 of the following 3 measures: weighted branch lines, night setting and tori lines (bird scaring lines).
  • Require large-scale (>24 metres) longline vessels fishing north of 23°N to use at least 2 of the mitigation measures listed in the table below. At least one of those measures must be from Column A in the table below.
  • Require small-scale (<24 metres) longline vessels fishing north of 23°N to use at least one of the mitigation measures listed in Column A in the table below.
  • Encourage longline vessels fishing in areas between 30°S and 23°N to use one or more of the seabird bycatch mitigation measures listed in the table below.
  • Undertake and report on any research that improves seabird bycatch mitigation measures.
  • Use measures that make sure that any seabird captured alive during longlining is released alive in the best possible condition, including removing any hooks.
  • Report annually all data collected by observers on interactions with seabirds.

 

Seabird bycatch mitigation measures

Column A

Column B

Side setting with a bird curtain and weighted branch lines

Tori line

Night setting with minimum deck lighting

Blue-dyed bait

Tori line

Deep-setting line shooter

Weighted branch lines

Managing offal discharge

 

Our Partners