Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission 2023 Meeting

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The 20th Annual Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting concluded successfully, with the United States and Pacific nations reaching agreement on an array of issues.

Participants convened December 4–8, 2023, for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) annual meeting in the Cook Islands.

The aim was to strengthen the conservation and management of international fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

The meeting resulted in new management measures that establish international rules for Pacific bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin tuna fishing.

The agenda topics encompassed discussions on tuna stock status and harvest strategies, as well as the incorporation of climate change considerations into fisheries management.

The United States led the adoption of a measure to create a climate change work plan addressing impacts on fisheries in the Commission Convention Area. The United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands will co-lead this work plan, and the Commission’s Secretariat may also assess current management measures to identify any that may be susceptible to climate change impacts.

The United States also supported several major revisions to the Commission management measure governing the harvest of Pacific bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin tunas.

Key changes include:

  • Support for the Hawaiʻi-based longline fleet by establishing the U.S. bigeye tuna catch limit at 6,554 metric tons—nearly double the historic limit of 3,554 metric tons
  • Support for the U.S. purse seine fleet through reductions in the Fish Aggregating Device closures from 5 months to 2.5 months
  • Adoption of three other management measures, including a new Compliance Monitoring Scheme that will enhance compliance with conservation and management measures, and revisions to the management of Pacific Bluefin Tuna and North Pacific Swordfish

The United States wanted to secure unlimited fishing on the high seas for the U.S. purse seine fleet based in American Samoa. Although it garnered support from numerous members, there wasn’t consensus.

The U.S. delegation included NOAA, U.S. Pacific Territories, U.S. Coast Guard, State Department, and industry representatives.

source: NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office

Related Information

International Commercial Fishing Regulations