Fish stocks - Management

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) facilitates regional cooperation for the sustainable use of tuna. It was established in 1979 to help countries to sustainably manage the fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile EEZ.

FFA takes an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, including for managing fish stock. Pacific Island States are applying this approach to managing tuna fisheries within their jurisdictions.

The Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission was established in mid-2004 by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. It operates across Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) as well as the high seas.

WCPFC is the central decision-making body for managing tuna fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

The WCPFC:

  • uses scientific advice to assess current stocks of tuna and other commercial fisheries
  • sets binding conservation management measures (CMMs) designed to ensure sustainable stocks of all commercial fish species
  • receives reports on catch and harvest of species from members, participating territories and cooperative non-members
  • revises and updates CMMs based on reports and new scientific information.

Ecosystem issues are also a significant component of managing tuna fisheries in the WCPO. Clear responsibilities are laid out in the Convention, such as considering the impacts of fishing on target stocks, non-target species, species belonging to the same ecosystem, or dependent on, or associated with target stocks. There is also a requirement to protect biodiversity in the marine environment. These responsibilities have expanded over the last decade; monitoring and reporting on ecosystem impacts is now an important aspect of evaluating the sustainability of fisheries.

The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Oceanic Fisheries Programme contributes to managing the Pacific’s fish stocks by monitoring and assessing fish stocks.

SPC also manage the world’s largest international fisheries database. Participating countries provide standardised data on fishing operations, including 2.7 million historical records of operations involving more than 9000 different fishing vessels since 1950.

Bringing tuna to a wedding; person carrying fish on his shoulders
Bringing tuna to a wedding. Photo credit: Francisco Blaha

 

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