Pacific tuna fisheries management

The Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) has the most abundant tuna resources in the world, the majority of which are under the jurisdiction of a group of small Pacific Island states and territories, with the remainder caught on the high seas. John and colleagues are part of a new consortium of organizations called the Pacific Catalyst, aiming to work with the governments and fisheries institutions in this region to foster the development of innovative fisheries policy instruments for tuna fisheries management, and to provide a platform to support learning and leadership development for the next generation of fisheries managers.  One of the first research projects of this group aims to help the region’s policy-makers better understand the potential size and distribution of the costs and benefits from enhancing the transferability of tuna fishing access rights created by Pacific Island nations.

According to the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement, coastal States and States fishing in the High Seas shall:

“take into account the biological unity of the stocks and the relationships between the distribution of the stocks, the fisheries and the geographical particularities of the region concerned, including the extent to which the stocks occur and are fished in areas under national jurisdiction” [Article 7.2(d)]

This provision is of particular relevance in the WCPO, where straddling and migratory species continuously move across jurisdictional boundaries.