Sixth Session of WCPFC concludes in Papeete, Tahiti

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Three hundred and seventy representatives from members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), inter-governmental agencies, industry representatives and non-government agencies wrapped up the sixth annual session of the Commission in Papeete on Friday 11th December. The Session, hosted by the Government of French Polynesia, was chaired by Ambassador Satya N. Nandan from Fiji.

The main issues before the Commission related to scientific advice that the conservation and management measure adopted at Busan in December 2008 (CMM 2008-01) would not achieve the objective of reducing fishing mortality on bigeye tuna by 30% between 2009 and 2011. While there was considerable discussion on possible refinements to CMM 2008-01 at Papeete the Measure was left in place until additional data and analysis is available in 2010 to support possible revisions. Refinements put up for consideration included proposals to close the purse seine fishery totally for a fixed period (as an alternative to a time closure for setting on FADs on the high seas and in EEZs); to revisit the range of exemptions that are provided for in the existing Measure; to exempt a portion of the two western high seas enclaves that will be closed to purse seine fishing from 1st January 2010 for select fleets; to close two additional high seas enclaves in the east of the Convention Area, and to introduce measures to prevent the relocation of effort from the western high seas enclaves to the high seas in the central and eastern regions of the Convention Area once the western high seas enclaves are closed from 1 January 2010.

These proposals will be revisited at the seventh session of the Commission which will take place at Pohnpei in December 2010 following further consideration and advice that will be available from the 2010 sessions of the Commission’s Scientific Committee and Technical and Compliance Committees.

Other issues relating to CMM 2008-01 that were discussed included the rapid increase in the growth of the western and central Pacific purse seine fleets in the last 4 years. This is amid concerns that the fishing mortality on bigeye and yellowfin (in the key western tropical fishing region) is not sustainable. Members also tabled proposals to implement wide-spread port sampling programmes at all major landing and transshipment sites as one means to better monitor the actual proportion of bigeye in the purse seine fishery where the bigeye component of the catch is often not separated from yellowfin.

Following a negotiated agreement on participatory rights, the Commission accepted applications for Cooperating Non-member status from Belize, El Salvador, Ecuador, Mexico, Senegal and Vietnam for 2010. Other measures adopted by the Commission included revisions to the 2008 South Pacific swordfish and shark conservation and management measures, revisions to the measure supporting the WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels to accommodate carrier and bunker vessels, new measures concerning transshipment and notification of charter arrangements, measures to prohibit damage to oceanic data buoys caused by fishing, means to deal with Stateless vessels, to harmonize the definitions for sets on fish aggregating devices (FADS) and catch retention between those which apply within EEZs and on the high seas, and a measure for the conservation and management of North Pacific albacore. The Commission also adopted comprehensive rules and procedures for data confidentiality and security associated with monitoring, compliance and enforcement on the high seas and the use of vessel monitoring system (VMS) data for scientific purposes.

This was the last meeting for the inaugural Executive Director of WCPFC, Andrew Wright, who has resigned to take up a post with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in April 2010.
Sixth Session of WCPFC concludes in Papeete, Tahiti

News Item Updated 22 Jan, 2010
© Copyright 2022 Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, All rights reserved. Hosted & Developed by Eighty Options ▲ Back to Top