Fisheries

Progress on fisheries management in the South Pacific Ocean, but more work still needed on IUU, budget

Progress on fisheries management in the South Pacific Ocean, but more work still needed on IUU, budget

Progress on fisheries management in the South Pacific Ocean, but more work still needed on IUU, budget

29/01/2019

The 7th annual meeting of the Commission of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), hosted by the European Union in The Hague, The Netherlands, concluded with good progress made on fisheries issues, compliance and the fight against IUU fishing.

The SPRFMO adopted a new bottom fisheries framework based on a spatial management approach, which will ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of deep-sea fishery resources. The EU has successfully negotiated that the new framework will prevent negative impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems and that management approach and measures will be timely reviewed.

The EU has set aside 150 000 euros to support the newly adopted regional Observer Programme, which ensures that observers deployed in the Convention Area meet agreed minimum standards.

Agreement was also reached on EU proposals to strengthen compliance and reinforce the fight against IUU fishing, notably by taking action against nationals involved in IUU fishing activities and aligning port inspection provisions with the FAO Port State Measures Agreement. Moreover, the SPRFMO also adopted an EU proposal to prevent marine plastic pollution.

Despite these positive developments, the EU regrets that no progress could be made on its proposals on the cross-listing of IUU vessels and on transhipment. Also disappointing is the failure of the SPRFMO to establish its own high seas boarding and inspection procedures for the Convention Area.

The EU is concerned by the limited financial resources put at the disposal of the SPRFMO. The EU calls on all SPRFMO members to consider increasing their contribution to the SPRFMO budget to ensure that the SPRFMO has the means to fulfil its mandate.

The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) was established in 2012 to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources of the South Pacific Ocean. The SPRFMO currently includes 15 Member States including the European Union. The 7th annual meeting of the SPRFMO took place from 23 to 28 January 2019.