Eleventh Regular Annual Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission concludes in Apia Samoa

The Government of Samoa hosted the Eleventh Regular Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC11) from 1 – 5 December 2014 at the Fale’ata Sports Complex in Apia.    Around 550 WCPFC Commissioners, Fisheries Ministers, Heads of Fisheries and fishery managers attended the meeting representing WCPFC Members, Cooperating Non-Members, Participating Territories, and observers from inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations.    The meeting was opened by the Honorable Prime Minister of Samoa, Honorable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.  WCPFC11 was chaired by Dr Charles Karnella from the United States of America, and the WCPFC Secretariat team was led by interim-Executive Director / Compliance Manager, Dr Lara Manarangi-Trott; Science Manager, Dr SungKwon Soh; and Finance and Administration Manager, Mr Aaron Nighswander. 

WCPFC11 received reports from two workshops which were held in Apia: Implementation of CMM 2013-06 and Disproportionate Burden Workshop on 27 November; and WCPFC Third Management Objectives Workshop on 28 November.  The WCPFC Finance and Administration Committee Chair Dr Paul Callaghan (United States of America) presented recommendations to WCPFC11, including the 2015 annual budget and indicative budgets for 2016 and 2017.  The Chairs of the Scientific Committee Mr Ludwig Kumoru (Papua New Guinea), Northern Committee Mr Masanori Miyahara (Japan), and Technical and Compliance Committee Mrs Rhea Moss-Christian (Federated States of Micronesia) presented the recommendations from their respective tenth regular sessions. 

Seven proposals for new conservation and management measures (CMM) were tabled and discussed at WCPFC11: Port State Measures proposal (FFA); Harvest Strategy Proposal (FFA); two proposals on target reference point for skipjack (PNA + Tokelau, and Japan); CMM for provision of operational-level catch and effort data (FFA); and CMM for Fishing Access Agreements and Information (European Union). 

A number of proposals and papers were tabled at WCPFC11 which contained recommendations to refine or strengthen CMM 2013-01 (Bigeye, Yellowfin and Skipjack), and these proposals were discussed during WCPFC11 plenary and through a “small working group”.  Also tabled at WCPFC11 were proposals to refine and/or extend a number of other existing measures including; CMM 2010-05 (South Pacific Albacore); CMM 2010-07 (Sharks); CMM 2013-09 (Pacific Bluefin); CMM 2012-07 (Mitigating Impacts of Fishing on seabirds); CMM 2013-02 (Compliance Monitoring Scheme); CMM 2013-03 (Record of Fishing Vessels Standard Specifications and Procedures); CMM 2007-01 (Regional Observer Programme) and CMM 2011-02 (Commission VMS). 

Key outcomes from WCPFC11 included:

  • The formal appointment of a new WCPFC Executive Director, Mr Feleti Teo ( Tuvalu) who is expected to commence in Pohnpei in March 2015;
  • Agreement to modify CMM 2013-01 (Conservation and Management Measure for bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean)  as follows: i) 2014 high seas purse seine effort limits, 2014 purse seine and 2014 longline catch measures for yellowfin tuna are extended during 2015; and ii) to include new section related to provision of operational level catch and effort data by CCMs;
  • New Conservation and Management Measure on establishing a harvest strategy for key fisheries and stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean;
  • New Conservation and Management Measure on Sharks, to complement existing shark CMMs and which specifies the measures to be used commencing 1 July 2015 in longline fisheries to mitigate impacts of fishing on sharks;
  • Adoption of Conservation and Management Measure to establish a multi-annual rebuilding plan for Pacific Bluefin Tuna, as recommended by the Northern Committee;
  • Extension of Conservation and Management Measure for the Compliance Monitoring Scheme for 2015;
  • Approval of the 2014 Final Compliance Monitoring Report covering 2013 activities, with individual compliance assessments for each Commission Member, Cooperating Non-Member and most Participating Territories;
  • Approval of refinements to the Record of Fishing Vessels Standards, Specifications and Procedures (CMM 2013-03);
  • Establishment of a trial WCPFC Port Coordinators Programme for 2015 – 2016;
  • Decisions on requests for Cooperating Non-Member status for 2015; and
  • Adoption of the WCPFC IUU list for 2015 (CMM 2010-06)

The next regular annual session (WCPFC12) will be chaired by Mrs Rhea Moss-Christian (Republic of Marshall Islands) from Thursday 3 - Tuesday 8 December, Bali, Indonesia.   The 2015 meeting schedule for subsidiary bodies will be:

  • The Eleventh Session of the Scientific Committee (SC11), to be chaired by Mr Ludwig Kumoru (Papua New Guinea) and held from Wednesday 5 August to Thursday 13 August 2015, in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia;
  • The Eleventh Session of the Northern Committee (NC11), will be chaired by Mr Masanori Miyahara, in a date in early September, Japan;
  • The Eleventh Session of the Technical and Compliance Committee (TCC11), will be chaired by Ms Alexa Cole (United States of America), and held from Wednesday 23 – Tuesday 29 September, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia; and

A number of key WCPFC work tasks will also be progressed in 2015 through a number of intersessional working groups and workshops, including:

  • A newly established FAD Management Options Working Group (chaired by Mr Brian Kumasi, Papua New Guinea, with vice-chair Mr Raymond Clarke, United States of America);
  • Catch documentation Scheme Intersessional Working Group (chaired by Mr Alois Kinol, Papua New Guinea);
  • A newly established Electronic Monitoring and Electronic Reporting Working Group (chaired by Ms Kerry Smith, Australia);
  • Intersessional Working Group on the Regional Observer Programme (chaired by Mr Raymond Clarke, United States of America); and
  • A continuing body of work related to Management Objectives and Harvest Strategy development for WCPFC. 

Pictured in photo (left to right):  Faalavaau Perina Sila (MC); Reverend Afamasaga Mautofu Fuimaono; Honorable Prime Minister of Samoa, Honorable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi; Dr Charles Karnella (Chairman); and Dr Lara Manarangi-Trott (Interim Executive Director / Compliance Manager).    

News Item Updated 22 Dec, 2014
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