Vital issues for Pacific Islands coming up at Tuna Commission

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, MONDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2008: With the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting in 2 weeks time, the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) today released a set of 2-Minute Briefs to inform industry, government, media and non-government organisations in the Pacific Islands about relevant meeting agenda items. Taking just 2 minutes to read, the briefs provide a summary of key issues at the WCPFC meeting and how they affect Pacific Island tuna fisheries.

The WCPFC is the regional decision making body for management of tuna fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Conservation and management measures (CMMs) of the Commission are legally binding and apply to all WCPFC members and the Convention area. The WCPFC meets this year from 7-12 December in Busan Korea.

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, MONDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2008: With the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting in 2 weeks time, the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) today released a set of 2-Minute Briefs to inform industry, government, media and non-government organisations in the Pacific Islands about relevant meeting agenda items. Taking just 2 minutes to read, the briefs provide a summary of key issues at the WCPFC meeting and how they affect Pacific Island tuna fisheries.

The WCPFC is the regional decision making body for management of tuna fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Conservation and management measures (CMMs) of the Commission are legally binding and apply to all WCPFC members and the Convention area. The WCPFC meets this year from 7-12 December in Busan Korea.

WCPFC's current members include Australia, China, Canada, Cook Islands, European Community, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Chinese Taipei, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America and Vanuatu. Out of a total of 32 participating territories and members of WCPFC, over half (17) are FFA members, forming a significant voting bloc (although so far in the WCPFC's history decisions have been made by consensus).

Key issues outlined in the 2-Minute Briefs coming up at the WCPFC meeting include:
BIG EYE TUNA AND YELLOWFIN TUNA: The WCPFC Chair's draft measure proposes to reduce the catches of Bigeye Tuna by the larger longline fleets that target this tuna (including China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States) by 30% over 3 years. Many of the actions proposed in the draft measure are already being taken by Pacific Islands, especially those that are Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA countries which are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau,  Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu). Adoption of the draft CMM will apply the same standards to fishing across the region, particularly in the high seas.
ILLEGAL FISHING: Tonga’s bid to seek WCPFC support for listing a Taiwanese vessel on the WCPFC Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Vessel list, was supported by a recommendation from TCC4 and the Special FFC in Apia, Samoa earlier this year. The WCPFC must make a decision on listing of the vessel at the meeting.
MONITORING, CONTROL, SURVEILLANCE: The commission will discuss and note the work of the intercessional working group on the development of a WCPFC regional observer program plus discuss and decide on the recommendation from its Technical and Compliance Committee that FFA and the WCPFC establish a Vessel Monitoring System.
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DEVELOPING STATES: The Special Requirements Fund and Japanese Trust Fund have tended to be used to finance or co-finance workshops to build capacity and skills in developing States and territories relevant to the WCPFC. The level of assistance needed will again be outlined by Pacific Islands countries at WCPFC and Marshall Islands’ issue of vessels purchased from Taiwan but withheld for use in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean will also be discussed.

More information about these issues can be found in the 2-minute briefs, click links below to download.

FFA supports its members to participate in the WCPFC by providing information and advice on technical, legal, fisheries management and monitoring, control and surveillance issues. This is part of FFA’s ongoing efforts to increase national capacity and strengthen regional solidarity for sustainable tuna fisheries.

For more information, please contact Anouk Ride, FFA Media and Publications: Tel: +677 94548 Email: [email protected] or visit www.ffa.int/wcpfc