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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.

FADS

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • 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
  • Mesh should be avoided, but if it is used, mesh must be less than 7 cm when stretched
  • Any mesh used on raft to be securely wrapped so as not to hang, and if used in tail must be tightly bundled and tied into a sausage shape
  • 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 2020

Sharks

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures

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 except 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, that are caught incidentally.
  • 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
  • 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. Photo credit: Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

Other species

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures

2018-04, Sea turtles

  • This measure comes into effect on 1 January 2020, and will replace CMM 2008-03
  • 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, but if turtles are accidentally entangled, ensure that they are safely released; (b) release all sea turtles entangled in FADs or other fishing gear; (c) stop a 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 set for shallow-set fishing use at least 1 of these measures to reduce their impact on turtles: large circle hooks that have an offset of no more than 10°, finfish bait only, or another approved measure
  • The SC may waive the previous requirement if the country can demonstrate both minimal interaction with sea turtles over 3 consecutive years and observer coverage of at least 10% during the same period
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 or tori lines (bird-scaring lines); or hook-shielding devices
  • From 1 January 2020, require longline vessels fishing from 25°S–30°S to use 1 of these measures: weighted branch lines, tori lines, or hook-shielding devices. This requirement does not apply in the EEZs of Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, or Tonga.
  • Countries fishing south of 25°S are encouraged to collect data on interactions with seabirds, increase observer coverage as appropriate, and implement seabird-mitigation measures when operating inside their EEZ
  • Require large-scale longline vessels (>24 metres) 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.
  • Require small-scale longline vessels (<24 metres) fishing north of 23°N to use at least 1 of the mitigation measures listed in Column A in the table below.
  • Encourage all longline vessels fishing in areas between 25°S and 23°N to use one or more of the seabird bycatch-mitigation measures listed in the table below
  • All countries with longline vessels fishing from 25°S to 23°N are encouraged to report annually on the mitigation measures they require vessels to use, and report on any changes made to these requirements
  • 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

Management of offal discharge

Hook-shielding devices