The European Commission has welcomed the adoption of a Convention for the setting up of a new regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO), to manage non-tuna fish stocks in the south Pacific, in Auckland, New Zealand. This Convention will allow to fill in the large gap that currently exists in the international conservation and management of non-highly migratory fisheries and in the protection of biodiversity in the marine environment in the high seas areas of the South Pacific Ocean.
This development has been achieved after three and a half years of negotiations and the holding of eight diplomatic conferences. The Convention text represents one of the most modern examples of fishery management legal instrument, encompassing ecosystem considerations together with the precautionary approach principle and purely fishery management ones.
The Convention is the fruit of the efforts by several States from the west and east Pacific as well as by a number of major long-distance fishing nations. Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: "This is a clear demonstration that multilateral cooperation between States with different interests and levels of economic development can achieve proper results for the conservation of oceans. All the players concerned must continue to work together to strengthen this new organisation which will allow for the effective management of fisheries resources and the protection of the marine environment in this vast area of the high sea which need to be protected from uncontrolled exploitation."
The new Convention covers a vast area including the waters from the most western parts of the South Pacific towards the Exclusive Economi c Zones (EEZs) of South America (see link to map and description of the boundaries of the area below).
The fish species regulated under the new Convention are demersal (close to the sea floor) and pelagic (mid-water), including jack mackerel, orange roughy, oreos, alfonsino, and bluenose.
The conclusion of this Convention means that the States from the region and those with long distance fishing fleets share the same concerns and the same goals: to ensure the sustainability of their activities and the durability of the fishing resources in a balanced marine environment.
The major fishing nations for pelagic species are Chile (Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) plus high seas), China, the EU, Korea, Russia, Vanuatu, the Faroe Islands (high seas) and Peru (EEZ).
Data and information standards already in force to monitor the interim measures have been confirmed.
The Convention will be open for signature from 1st January 2010 and should enter into force in two to three years’ time.
A preparatory conference will be convened in the second half of 2010 to adopt the rules of procedures, the financial regulations etc (including possible revision of interim measures).
Meanwhile, the interim measures related to the pelagic fishery, which come to an end on 31 December 2009, have been renewed while those for demersal fishery have been confirmed. Both sets will apply until the new Convention enters into force. There might be revisions of the pelagic measures following the expected stock assessment of the main pelagic resource fished in the area concerned (jack mackerel Trachurus Murphy ). This might be possible already at the end of next year.
The south Pacific is one of the few remaining parts of the oceans which have not yet been regulated by an RFMO for non-tuna species. The process for the creation of this RFMO was launched in 2006. At the first meeting, the parties established a Science Working Group and a Data and Information Working Group.
These groups will continue to operate in the coming year and will keep on developing their work with special attention to the pelagic fishery.
For further information, see maps and detailed information at: