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Conservation and management measures (CMMs)

Conservation and management measures (CMMs) describe binding decisions agreed on by the members and cooperating non-members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) at its annual meeting. These two groups and a third, participating territories, are known collectively as CCMs. Among the members are the 14 small island developing states (SIDS) of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

WCPFC maintains updates to the CMMs.

CMMs direct the SIDS’ and other members’ policies and rules for managing tuna fisheries. These include compliance measures, and monitoring and surveillance to manage fish stocks and protect wildlife.

Vessels

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • To fish in the convention area, operators must mark vessels with unobscured identification of their International Telecommunication Union radio call signs (IRCS) or WCPFC Identification Number (WIN) on the port and starboard hulls and on the deck
  • Smaller craft must also have these markings
  • In agreement with CMM 2009-01, which has been replaced by CMM 2018-06 (see below), each CCM shall ensure that all large fishing vessels flagged to it have an International Maritime Organization (IMO) identification number or a Lloyd’s Register (LR) number
  • A large vessel is 100 gross tonnes or 100 gross register tonnes or larger
  • Specific allowances may be made for extraordinary circumstances that prevent a vessel owner from obtaining an IMO or LR number
  • Small vessels are not yet required to have a unique vessel identifier (UVI)
  • The WCPFC is examining how all vessels on the Record of Fishing Vessels can be given UVIs
  • Chartered vessels are important in the development of sustainable fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, and must not promote illegal activities
  • The catch and effort of charter vessels will be attributed to the chartering country
  • Countries must notify the WCPFC in advance of vessels chartered for fishing, giving specified identification information, including vessel name, WIN, and flag state
  • Only vessels listed on the WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels or the WCPFC Interim Register of Non-CCM Carriers and Bunkers are eligible for charter
  • Vessels previously flagged as operating illegally (i.e. on the IUU fishing list of the WCPFC or another RFMO) are not eligible for charter
  • A vessel without nationality is defined as one that does not fly the flag of any state or one that flies the flags of two or more states
  • A vessel without nationality that is fishing in the high seas of the Convention Area is presumed to be contravening WCPFC rules
  • CCMs are encouraged to prevent vessels without nationality from undermining WCPFC rules

Buoys

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Fishing vessels are prohibited from fishing within 1 nautical mile of data buoys in the convention area
  • They are also prohibited from interacting with data buoys, including encircling a buoy with fishing gear, tying up to a buoy or attaching the vessel or any gear to a buoy or its mooring, cutting the anchor line of a data buoy, or taking a data buoy on board
  • If a vessel or fishing gear get tangled with a buoy, remove the tangle with as little damage to the buoy as possible. Report the incident.

Transhipment

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • This CMM is being reviewed in 2020. In the meantime, the rules of this CMM continue to apply to all fish caught in the convention area, whether transhipping occurs inside the area or outside.
  • Transhipment in port is recommended, in accordance with national laws and accurate reporting standards
  • Purse-seine vessels are not allowed to tranship at sea outside the convention area. The WCPFC may grant specific exemptions to tranship at sea inside the convention area.
  • Longline, troll, and pole-and-line fishing vessels are not allowed to tranship on the high seas, except if authorised by the WCPFC
  • Countries must make sure vessels flying their flag comply with this measure. They must report on transhipment, and verify and correct the data.
  • Both offloading and receiving vessels must complete a WCPFC Transhipment Declaration
  • Each country will ensure that vessels they are responsible for carry observers from the WCPFC Regional Observer Programme to observe transhipments and verify each transhipment
  • CCMs must make sure vessels do not tranship to or from a non-CCM vessel unless authorised by the WCPFC

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • There is an international plan of action (IPOA) to prevent and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. IUU fishing undermines the effectiveness of conservation and management measures.
  • The WCPDC will keep a record of vessels that have engaged in IUU fishing (the IUU Vessel List)
  • CCMs are to contribute to this list by providing specific information in the format required
  • CCMs and other countries with vessels on the list will be given the list. The countries must monitor those vessels and their fishing activities, and report back. If IUU fishing is substantiated, countries must tell the owner of the vessel and act to eliminate it.

Fisheries officers monitor fishing vessels to ensure compliance. Photo: Francisco Blaha.

Convention membership

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Countries that are not members of the WCPF Convention should still implement WCPFC conservation and management measures
  • They may request status as a cooperating non-member (CNM) from the WCPFC
  • The WCPFC shall review the status of CNMs every year
  • CNMs may come to meetings as observers
  • CNMs must comply with CMMs and report on compliance with them, provide to the WCPFC all data that members are required to give, and accept observers boarding
  • CNMs must comply with CMMs and report on compliance with them, provide to the WCPFC all data that members are required to give, and accept observer boardings
  • The WCPFC shall decide on any limits to CNMs’ fishing rights, so as to protect the sovereign rights of coastal states in the WCPO

Observers

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Observers shall monitor the implementation of this CMM, and shall have full access to the unloading and receiving vessels in order to carry out this work
  • CCMs shall conduct observer programs for fishing vessels used to fish for fresh fish beyond national jurisdictions north of 20°N
  • Countries must make sure that official WCPFC observers cover 5% of this fishing effort

Authorisation, records and monitoring

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures

Each WCPFC member must comply with the following rules.

  • Authorise its vessels to fish in the convention area. From 1 April 2020, authorisation is extended to include all motorised inboard fishing vessels of ≤100 GRT down to a size of 12 m overall length.
  • Maintain a record of fishing vessels, and keep it up to date. Provide the record to the WCPFC for its Record of Fishing Vessels (RFV), the master record for the Convention Area.
  • Ensure authorised vessels, and charter and lease vessels comply with CMMs
  • Make sure only authorised vessels fish where allowed
  • Manage authorisations for fish stocks
  • Make sure no IUU fishing vessels can fish, and withdraw fishing rights where needed
  • Make sure vessel owners can be prosecuted for wrongdoing
  • Ensure legal transhipment
  • Report on vessels and their fishing activities to the Commission
  • Submit a list of non-member carrier/bunker vessels for registration
  • The vessel monitoring system applies to all fishing vessels on the high seas in the convention area.
  • The system will operate south of 20°N, and east of 175°E in the area of the convention area north of 20°N, and north of 20°N and west of 175°E
  • Vessels will use an automatic location communicator (ALC), a near real-time satellite position fixing transmitter
  • Countries are responsible for vessels using ALCs and submitting data to the Commission
  • The WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels (RFV) is an electronic database that:
    – complies with a specified format
    – is publicly searchable
    – stores previous data
    – includes photos of the vessels
  • Countries must submit vessel data to the Secretariat of the WCPFC. The Secretariat will maintain the record.
  • The Commission evaluates compliance regarding fishing capacity, effort and catch, and that countries have adopted binding measures, in line with their own national policies and procedures, to meet compliance requirements
  • The WCPFC will use the Compliance Monitoring Scheme (CMS) and work collaboratively to encourage CCMs is to comply with the convention and WCPFC conservation and management measures, while ensuring that no country bears a disproportionate burden of CMM actions
  • CCMs must comply with their WCPFC obligations, and ensure their nationals and vessels also comply
  • The CMS shall be used to assess CCM action on violations of its vessels (and not to assess individual vessels)
  • The CMS shall be used to identify CMMs that need to be amended
  • The WCPFC may use prevention or remediation to help CCMs comply, and will monitor and resolve non-compliance
  • The WCPFC shall maintain a secure online system of compliance cases
  • Countries will provide information on compliance, and in the case of alleged violations, updates on the progress of investigations until they are resolved
  • Where SIDS, participating territories, Indonesia or the Philippines do not have the capacity to meet a compliance obligation, the WCPFC will work with the country to build their capacity to do so
  • The CMS will continue to be developed and streamlined until the end of 2021
  • Members of the WCPFC or authorised inspectors may board vessels in the high seas to ensure vessels are complying with CMMs
  • Each member country will ensure that vessels flagged to it allow authorised inspectors on board
  • Inspection vessels will fly a WCPFC inspection flag and carry approved identification
  • Inspectors are to be fully trained in fisheries enforcement
  • Lists the kinds of vessels that inspectors will give priority to
  • Lists the information that inspectors are authorised to collect
  • Lists the procedures that inspectors and masters of vessels shall follow
  • Lists violations that inspectors will notify the WCPFC about. They include fishing without a licence, failure to maintain proper fishing records, falsifying records, fishing in closed areas or during a closed season, and intimidating or harassing an inspector.

Ports

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Establish processes and procedures to undertake port inspections on fishing vessels suspected of engaging in Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing or activities supporting IUU fishing
  • Apply consistently with international law, taking into account international rules and standards
  • Notify the WCPFC Executive Director which ports are designated for inspections. The WCPFC will publish a record of designated ports.
  • Government-authorised inspectors will undertake fisheries inspections
  • Inspectors will inspect all foreign longline, purse-seine and carrier vessels that enter a designated port but are not on the WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels, and all IUU fishing vessels
  • Inspections can be requested if a vessel is suspected of IUU fishing or related activities, and will be carried out by the port if resources and capacity are available. If the inspection does not go ahead, a request can be made to the next designated port the vessel will enter.
  • Inspection reports will be provided to the requesting country, the flag country, the WCPFC Executive Director, and the vessel master
  • Immediate investigation will be carried out on any vessels suspected of IUU activities in accordance with Article 25 of the convention
  • CCMs must cooperate and exchange information to relevant countries and organisations
  • CCMs shall assist SIDS financially, and with technical assistance, training and monitoring
  • the WCPFC shall review this measure regularly, and may add more requirements, e.g. port entry, authorisation, denial, and use of ports

Marine pollution

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • CCMs shall prevent their fishing vessels operating in the WCPFC Convention Area from discharging any plastics, excluding fishing gear
  • They are also encouraged to prohibit their fishing vessels from discharging petrochemical products and residues, garbage, waste, fishing gear, incinerator ashes, cooking oil, and sewage
  • CCMs are encouraged to develop frameworks to handle the reporting and sharing of information on the loss of fishing gear, to encourage their fishing vessels to retrieve gear and, where this is not possible, to accurately record what is lost and where
  • CCMs are requested to provide facilities in port to accept waste, with SIDS being supported to do this by wealthy fishing nations
  • WCPFC encourages all CCMs to ratify the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and the London Protocol on prevention of marine pollution

Eastern High Seas Pocket

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Vessels operating in the Eastern High Seas Pocket (EHSP) should report sightings of any fishing vessel
  • Nearby coastal states and territories will receive continuous near real-time VMS data of all fishing vessels so they can conduct monitoring, control and surveillance
  • The WCPFC will maintain a list of all fishing vessels in the EHSP
  • No transhipment is allowed