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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 at its annual meetings. 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, including sustaining fish stocks.

Tuna

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures

2018-01, Bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the Western & Central Pacific Ocean

(a) Purse seine fishery in tropics (20°N–20°S)

  • Prohibits setting of fish-aggregating devices (FADs) July–September in exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and high seas
  • Additionally prohibits setting of FADs for 2 months in a row, either April–May or November–December (except for Kiribati-flagged vessels in adjacent high seas)
  • From 1 January 2020, all existing and new FADs must be  constructed to prevent the entanglement of sharks, turtles, and other bycatch. Mesh should be avoided, but if it is used should be wrapped tightly around the raft so that it doesn’t hang loose. Tails should be weighted, and if made of mesh, bundled tightly into a sausage shape. Mesh size to be no larger than 7 cm when stretched.
  • The use of biodegradable materials is recommended
  • Ensure each vessel has no more than 350 FADs with activated instrumented buoys
  • Effort and catch within EEZs needs to match existing limits
  • Non-SID countries need to restrict their purse-seine fishing efforts on the high seas to agreed limits
  • When a country exceeds effort and catch limits, the excess amount will be deducted from the limits for the following year
  • All vessels are to retain on board and then land or ship at port all their catch
  • All vessels shall carry an official observer
  • Except for SIDS and Indonesia, no country is to increase the number of its vessels that are larger than 24 metres and have freezer capacity
  • Catch limits are set for bigeye tuna for all countries catching 2,000 tonnes or more per year
  • Countries that caught less than 2,000 tonnes in 2004 are not to increase their catch above 2,000 tonnes a year
  • Longline vessels are not to increase their catches of yellowfin tuna
  • People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Chinese Taipei and USA are to report monthly on bigeye catches
  • Except for SIDS and Indonesia, no country is to increase the number of its longline vessels targeting bigeye tuna that have a freezing capacity or ice-chilling facilities
  • Total effort and capacity of other commercial bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna fisheries (taking more than 2,000 tonnes) is not to exceed the average level of 2001–04 or 2004
  • Pending agreement, spawning biomass for bigeye and yellowfin tuna to be maintained at or above the average set for 2012–15
  • Pending agreement, spawning biomass for skipjack tuna to be maintained at 50% of the level that occurs in the absence of fishing (see CMM 2015-06)
  • The interim target reference point for skipjack, until it is reviewed in 2019, is to be 50% of the estimated recent average spawning biomass in the absence of fishing
  • When estimating the target reference point, use the same methods that are used for the limit reference point for skipjack tuna
  • The Scientific Committee will refer to this reference point when assessing the status of skipjack stocks and when recommending any changes due to possible local reductions or geographical shift in stocks
  • Fishing for albacore tuna north of the equator is not to be increased above 2005 levels, and work is needed to maintain or to reduce fishing efforts
  • All CMMs are to report annually to WCPFC on catch by weight, and fishing effort by gear used
  • Fishing for albacore tuna south of 20°S is not to be increased above 2005 levels, and work is needed to only maintain or to reduce fishing efforts
  • SIDS have a legitimate right to responsibly develop their own albacore fisheries in the waters under their jurisdiction
  • Each fishing vessel operating south of 20°S needs to report annually to the WCPFC about the total catch
  • For vessels operating north of 20°N: total fishing effort should stay below the 2002–04 annual average levels, and catches of individual fish smaller than 30 kg should be reduced to 50% of the 2002–04 annual average
  • When more than the limit is caught, the excess will be deducted from the catch limit in the following year
  • If less than the limit is caught in any year, a maximum of an extra 5% of the annual limit may be carried over to the following year
  • If less than the limit is caught in any year, a maximum of an extra 5% of the annual limit may be carried over to the following year
  • For 2018–20, part of the annual catch limit for tuna smaller than 30 kg can be used to catch tuna larger than 30 kg in the same year. Fish larger than 30 kg cannot be used to catch fish smaller than 30 kg.
  • Annual reports about these tuna catches are required by 31 July
  • Monitor numbers of juveniles each year
  • Strengthen monitoring and data collection for fisheries and farming to improve data quality and reporting
  • Catches will be monitored, and the Scientific Committee will review the data to determine whether to amend the catch policy

Catch limits are set for tuna to preserve stocks. Photo credit: Pacific Community (SPC)

Other species

WCPFC reference
Brief summary of main measures
  • Each participating country has an agreed maximum number of fishing vessels that may operate south of 15°S
  • SIDS have a legitimate right to responsibly develop their own striped marlin fishery south of 15°S
  • All fisheries will report annually to the WCPFC on the striped-marlin catch, whether if is from direct fishing or as bycatch
  • Total catch is to be 80% of the highest catch between 2000 and 2003
  • Each flag/chartered fishing vessel operating north of the equator must report annually on its actions to reduce its catch, and on the total catch taken

2009-03, Swordfish

  • Each participating country has an agreed maximum number of fishing vessels that may operate south of 20°S, and will not shift its fishing efforts north of this area
  • SIDS have a legitimate right to responsibly develop their own swordfish fisheries in the Convention area
  • All participating countries will cooperate on research aimed at reducing uncertainty about the status of swordfish stocks
  • Annual reports need to be made to the WCPFC on the total catch and the total number of all vessels fishing south of 20oS