Fish stocks - 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, or SIDS) and cooperating non-members of the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission at their annual meetings. The latest updates to CMMs are maintained by WCPFC.

CMMs direct the SIDS’ policies and rules aimed at sustaining their fish stocks.

WCPFC reference

Brief summary of main measures

Tuna

2017-01, Bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the Western & Central Pacific Ocean

(a) Purse seine fishery in tropics (20°N – 20°S)

  • Prohibits setting of fish aggregating devices (FADs) July–September in Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and high seas
  • Additionally prohibits setting of FADs for 2 sequential months in either April-May or November-December (except for Kiribati-flagged vessels in adjacent high seas)
  • Ensure each vessel has no more than 350 FADs with activated instrumented buoys
  • Effort and catch within EEZs needs to match existing limits
  • Non-SID countries need to restrict their purse-seine fishing efforts on the high seas to agreed limits.
  • All vessels are to retain on board and then land or ship at port all their catch,
  • Except for SIDS and Indonesia, no country is to increase the number of their vessels that are larger than 24 metres and have freezer capacity.

 

2017-01, Bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the Western & Central Pacific Ocean

(b) Longline fishery

  • Catch limits are set for bigeye tuna for all countries catching 2000 tonnes or more per year.
  • Countries that caught less than 2,000 tonnes in 2004 are not to increase their catch above 2,000 tonnes/year.
  • Longline vessels are not to increase their catches of yellowfin tuna.
  • People's Republic of China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Chinese Taipei and USA are to report monthly on bigeye catches.
  • Except for SIDS and Indonesia, no country is to increase the number of their longline vessels targeting bigeye tuna that have a freezing capacity or ice-chilled facilities.

2017-01, Bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the Western & Central Pacific Ocean

(c) Other commercial fisheries

  • Total effort and capacity of other commercial bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna fisheries (taking more than 2000 tonnes) is not to exceed the average level of 2001–04 or 2004.

2015-06, Target reference point for skipjack tuna

  • The interim target reference point for skipjack, until it is reviewed in 2019, is to be 50% of the estimated recent average spawning biomass in the absence of fishing.
  • Estimating the target reference point will use the same methods used for the limit reference point for skipjack tuna.
  • The scientific committee will refer to this reference point when assessing the status of skipjack stocks and when recommending any changes due to possible local reductions or spatial shift in stocks.

2005-03, North Pacific Albacore

  • Fishing for albacore tuna north of the equator is not to be increased above 2005 levels, and work is needed to only maintain or to reduce fishing efforts.
  • Medium-to-large fisheries are to report catch weight to WCPFC every six months; small coastal fisheries are to report annually.
  • Annual reports need to be made to WCPFC of all catch weight and fishing effort (gear used).

2015-02, South Pacific Albacore

  • Fishing for albacore tuna south of 20°S is not to be increased above 2005 levels, and work is needed to only maintain or to reduce fishing efforts.
  • SIDS have a legitimate right to responsibly develop their own albacore fisheries in the waters under their jurisdiction.
  • Each fishing vessel operating south of 20°S needs to report annually to the WCPFC about the total catch.

2017-08, Pacific Bluefin tuna

  • For vessels operating north of 20°N: total fishing effort should stay below the 2002–04 annual average levels, and catches smaller than 30 kilograms should be reduced to 50% of the 2002–04 annual average.
  • For 2017–20, part of the annual catch limit for tuna smaller than 30 kilograms can be used to catch tuna greater than 30 kilograms in the same year.
  • Annual reports about these tuna catches are required by 31 July.
  • Monitor numbers of juveniles each year
  • Strengthen monitoring and data collection for fisheries and farming to improve data quality and reporting
Catch limits are set for tuna to preserve stocks. Woman and small boy selling skipjack tuna
Catch limits are set for tuna to preserve stocks. Photo credit: Pacific Community, SPC

 

Other species

2006-04, Striped Marlin in the Southwest Pacific

  • Each participating country has an agreed maximum number of fishing vessels able to operate south of 15°S.
  • SIDS have a legitimate right to responsibly develop their own striped marlin fishery south of 15°S.
  • All fisheries will report annually to the Commission about catching striped marlin from direct fishing or bycatch.

2010-01, North Striped Marlin

  • Total catch is to be 80% of the highest catch between 2000 and 2003.
  • Each flag/chartered fishing vessel operating north of the equator must report annually on their actions to reduce their catch, and total catch taken.

2009-03, Swordfish

  • Each participating country has an agreed maximum number of fishing vessels able to operate south of 20°S, and will not shift their fishing efforts north of this area.
  • SIDS have a legitimate right to responsibly develop their own swordfish fisheries in the convention area.
  • All participating countries will cooperate on research aiming to reduce uncertainty about the status of swordfish stocks.
  • Annual reports need to be made to the WCPFC of the total catch and total number of all vessels fishing south of 20oS.

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