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CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT MEASURES (CMMS)

Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs) describe binding decisions agreed by the members (including all 14 of the 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 SIDS’ policies and rules aimed at sustaining their fish stocks.

Compliance includes monitoring, control and surveillance.

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 deck.
  • Smaller craft must also have these markings.
  • Internationally recognised unique vessel identifiers (UVI) help identify vessels quickly and help combat illegal fishing.
  • All large vessels should have an IMO identification and/or UVI number.
  • Small vessels are not usually assigned a UVI.
  • A consolidated list of authorized tuna vessels could help with verification and monitoring.
  • The Commission is examining how all vessels can be given UVIs.
  • Chartered vessels are important for sustainable fisheries development in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, but must not promote illegal activities.
  • The catch and effort of charter vessels will be attributed to the chartering country.
  • Countries must notify the Commission in advance of charter vessels that will fish in the flag state.
  • Previously illegally flagged vessels are not eligible for charter.

Buoys

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Data buoys are critically and commonly used for forecasting, search and rescue, fisheries management, and climate work. They tend to attract highly migratory fish.
  • Reducing fishing around buoys will likely reduce the mortality of juvenile tuna.
  • Fishing vessels are not allowed to fish within 1 nautical mile of buoys in the Convention Area, including:
    1. circling the buoy
    2. tying up/attaching the vessel/fishing gear
    3. cutting its anchor line
    4. taking a buoy on-board.
  • If a vessel/fishing gear gets 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
  • Transhipment at sea is common, but unregulated/inaccurate transhipment distorts catch reporting and management.
  • Transhipment in port is recommended, in accordance with national laws and accurate reporting standards.
  • Purse-seine vessels operating in the Convention Area are not allowed to tranship at sea, with several exceptions.
  • Longline, troll, and pole and line fishing vessels are not allowed to tranship on the high seas except if authorised by the Commission and country.
  • 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 have to complete a WCPFC Transhipment Declaration.
  • Observers must observe, monitor and verify each transhipment operation.
  • Countries must make sure vessels do not tranship to or from a non-member country vessel unless authorised by the Commission.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • There is an International Plan of Action to prevent and eliminate illegal, unreported, underreported and unregulated fishing (IUU). IUU fishing undermines the effectiveness of conservation and management measures.
  • The Commission will document vessels which have engaged in this type of fishing (IUU Vessel List), and let the flag countries know.
  • The countries must then monitor those vessels and their fishing activities, and report back. If IUU is substantiated, countries must tell the owner of the vessel and act to eliminate the IUU.

Fisheries Officers monitor fishing vessels to ensure compliance. Photo credit: 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 measures.
  • They may request to be given Cooperating non-member (CNM) status from the Commission.
  • CNMs:
    1. can come to meetings
    2. must comply with conservation and management measures
    3. give data that member countries have to
    4. report to the Commission
    5. accept observer boardings.
  • It is important the Commission does not introduce excess fishing capacity from such non-members.

Observers

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • For fishing vessels used just to fish for fresh fish in the area north of 20°N, countries must make sure 5% of efforts of each fishery have WCPFC observer coverage.

Authorisation, records and monitoring

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Each Commission member must:
    1. authorise its vessels to fish in the Convention Area
    2. maintain a record of these vessels and any changes
    3. ensure compliance with CMMs
    4. make sure only authorised vessels fish where allowed
    5. manage authorisations for fish stocks
    6. make sure no IUU vessels can fish, and withdraw fishing rights where needed
    7. make sure vessel owners can be prosecuted for wrongdoing
    8. ensure legal transhipment
    9. report on vessels and their fishing activities to the Commission
    10. submit a list of non-member carrier/bunker vessels for registration
    11. make sure charter/lease vessels comply also.
  • The Commission will maintain a public list of authorised fishing vessels (WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels, the ‘Record’). This Record is the ‘master’ or ‘chief’ list for fishing authorisation.
  • The vessel monitoring system is important to create and uphold sustainable fisheries.
  • The system applies to all fishing vessels on the high seas in the Convention Area. vessels will use an automatic location communicator (ALC), a near real-time satellite position fixing transmitter.
  • 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.
  • Countries are responsible for vessels using ALCs and submitting data to the Commission.
  • The WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels is an electronic database that:
    1. complies with a specified format
    2. is publicly searchable
    3. stores previous data
    4. includes photos of the vessels.
  • Countries must submit vessel data to the Secretariat. The Secretariat will maintain the record.
  • A wide range of conservation and management measures help the Convention meet its objectives.
  • Commission members must ensure their nationals and vessels comply with the Convention.
  • The WCPFC Compliance Monitoring Scheme (CMS) is to make sure members, cooperating non-members and participating territories implement and comply with the Convention and its conservation and management measures.
  • The Commission, through the scheme:
    1. assesses compliance
    2. identifies countries’ need for help
    3. identifies measures which may need to change
    4. responds to non-compliance, and monitors and resolves those instances.
  • The Commission evaluates compliance regarding catch and effort limits and reporting on target species, reporting on non-target species, fishery closures, fishing authorisations, FADS and provision of data.
  • Countries will prepare an annual report, Compliance Monitoring Reports and Capacity Development plan. The Commission evaluates the reports and will work with the countries to meet their obligations and responsibilities.

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  fishing (IUU) or activities supporting IUU.
  • Apply consistently with international law, taking into account international rules and standards.
  • Notify the WCPFC Executive Director which ports are designated for inspections – a record of designated ports will be published on the WCPFC website .
  • Government authorised inspectors will undertake fisheries inspections.
  • Inspect all foreign longline, purse seine and carrier vessels which enter a designated port but are not on the WCPFC Record of Fishing vessels, and all IUUs.
  • Inspections can be requested if a vessel is suspected of IUU 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 Executive Director, the vessel master.
  • Immediate investigation will be carried out on any vessels suspected of IUU activities in accordance with Article 25 of the convention.
  • Ensure cooperation and exchange of information.
  • Assist SIDS financially, and with technical assistance, training and monitoring.
  • Review to identify any additional factors to be added, such as notification, port entry, authorization, denial, use of ports and additional inspection requirements.

Other

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Illegal fishing is an urgent issue in the Eastern High Seas Pocket (the ‘E-HSP’), the area of high seas bounded by the Exclusive Economic Zones of the Cook Islands to the west, French Polynesia to the east and Kiribati to the north.
  • In the E-HSP:
    1. any vessel sightings should be reported
    2. nearby coastal states/territories and the Secretariat will receive continuous near real-time VMS data of all fishing vessels
    3. no transhipment activities are allowed.