The Western Fishboat Owners Association has long believed that management of Highly Migratory Species (HMS) such as albacore should be coordinated on an international basis. The main reason for this is that these species have no national boundaries; to manage one nation's resources while others go un-managed would put an unfair burden on the managed nation's fishing community.
This section contains information on past, present, and future regulation and management of HMS. Tuna and tuna-like species are being managed at all levels of government. This includes international bodies such as the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the newly formed Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). The WPCFC was formed from the Multilateral High Level Conference, which involved 28 nations beginning in 1996; agreement was reached in 2000. Since then organizational meetings have been held, and a full working commission is now in place in Pohnepei, FSM.
WFOA was a member of the U.S. State Department Delegation to the Multilateral High Level Conference (MHLC), and now sits on the delegation to the WCPFC. On the international level, WFOA also attends IATTC meetings. At the federal level we hold the troll representative chairman seat on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) HMS advisory panel. The PFMC is now involved with HMS, especially albacore, that have come under the Fisheries Management Plan (FMP). WFOA also works with the Western Pacific Management Council (WPFMC) and other federal bodies and agencies that are responsible for managing the resource.
Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC): In a nutshell, the WCP Convention will create a permanent Commission made up of one voting member from each participating nation (each party), as well as three separate advisory Committees (the Scientific, Compliance and Northern Pacific Committees). The Commission will design and implement comprehensive fisheries conservation, management, and enforcement systems for the high seas tuna fisheries, and also help to ensure adoption of compatible conservation programs within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) that are under the jurisdiction of various Pacific island and coastal nations.
Depending on each fishery's status and characteristics, WCP conservation measures may include any combination of time/area closures, gear and technology restrictions, bycatch control regulations, total allowable catch limits, or fishing effort controls. Fishing vessels in the WCP Convention area will also be required to carry Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) satellite tracking units and participate in observer programs.
Meanwhile, participating nations will be required to share their harvest and other fisheries data, their high seas enforcement capabilities, and lists of all vessels flying their flag and fishing within the Convention area. Each nation will be required to cooperate with one another, administer any national catch and/or effort allocations to their fleets, and implement compatible conservation and management programs within their national waters (their EEZs). It would be fair to say that the WCP Convention is the most ambitious effort to prevent overfishing ever witnessed, and it will dramatically affect dozens of countries as well as thousands of fishermen.
For more information:
Comprehensive Management Body Site (NEW)
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC)
Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC)
Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council (WPFMC)
National Marine Fisheries Service (SW Region and PIRO)
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
The Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA) position on Highly Migratory Species (HMS) management, as approved by the Board of Directors on April 9, 1999 is as follows:
This section is a joint project of the Western Fishboat Owners Association and the American Fishermen's Research Foundation. It is designed to provide an introduction to fisheries management, along with comprehensive information about the Pacific albacore tuna fisheries and highly migratory species management efforts.
Basic Fisheries Management Techniques:
Excerpt from the National Research Council's 1999 "Sharing the Fish" report -- an overview of fisheries management tools used to regulate harvests.
The following is applicable to high seas fishing vessels and the albacore tuna fleet.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing herein should be construed as individual, technical, accounting, or legal advice. Readers are cautioned to seek individualized advice and assistance based on a detailed analysis of facts and situations. While every effort has been made to supply accurate and correct information, the Western Fishboat Association (WFOA) and its affiliate, the American Fishermen's Research Foundation (AFRF) have no responsibility for, nor in any way guarantee, the accuracy of the information contained herein unless the information originated with WFOA or AFRF. WFOA does not, by supplying links, in any way endorse or approve by that action the positions or philosophies of any of the linked agencies, associations, groups or documents.
International Law of the Sea
UN Straddling Stocks & Migratory Fish Agreement
International Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
International High Seas Fishing Compliance Act
U.S. Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation & Management Act
U.S./Canadian Albacore Tuna Treaty