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South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation - High Seas Fisheries Resources
The Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean (the Convention) establishes the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of non-highly migratory living marine resources on the high seas of the south Pacific Ocean.
The Convention text was adopted at the eighth negotiation session to establish SPRFMO, held from 8 to 14 November 2009 in Auckland, New Zealand. Australia ratified the Convention on 23 March 2012 and the Convention entered into force on 24 August 2012.
The Convention draws upon the application of the precautionary approach and an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of non-highly migratory fishery resources and closes the gap that existed in the international conservation and management of non-highly migratory fisheries and protection of biodiversity in the marine environment.
Three Preparatory Conferences were held prior to the Convention entering into force. These conferences developed the groundwork for the establishment of the Commission including draft rules of procedure and interim fishery management measures underpinning the future operation of the Commission, as well as financial and administrative matters.
Fisheries Issues and Impact in Australia
Fisheries in the south Pacific Ocean tend to concentrate in a few areas, predominantly on the eastern and western sides of the ocean, with large tracts of very deep water in between. The major current fisheries, jack mackerel and squid, occur mainly in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile, and the main fishing countries for these species are Chile, the European Union, Peru, Russia, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Approximately 2 million tonnes of jack mackerel are caught annually. Orange roughy and associated fisheries occur predominantly in the western Pacific off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand and in the Tasman Sea. There are some stocks off Chile.
Given the extent and depth of much of the south Pacific Ocean, research into the biodiversity of the high seas of the south Pacific Ocean is still in its infancy. Knowledge of the distribution and extent of commercial fishing in the south Pacific Ocean high seas is limited. Exploratory and targeted commercial fishing is thought to have taken place in the area since at least the 1970s. Fishing methods currently used include purse seining, midwater trawling, bottom trawling, midwater longlining, bottom longlining and potting.
The Convention holds particular significance for the economic and geographical considerations and the special requirements of developing States. Particularly the least developed among them, and small island developing States, and territories and possessions, and their coastal communities, in relation to the conservation, management and sustainable development of fishery resources and equitable benefit from those resources.
Convention Map PDF [298 KB]
For more information on the SPRFMO see the SPRFMO website.
11 Oct 2012