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. A map of the Convention Area can be found on SPRFMO website. 

Background

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, such as Chilean jack mackerel, alfonsino and orange roughy. The Convention closes the gap that existed in the international conservation and management of non-highly migratory fisheries and protection of biodiversity in the marine environment in the south Pacific Ocean.

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, Chilean 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 440,000 tonnes of Chilean 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 also some stocks off Chile.

Regional Engagement

The Convention holds particular significance for the economic and geographical considerations and the special requirements of developing States. This is particularly the case for the least developed among them, such as small island developing States, as well as 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.

Meetings

The fourth and most recent meeting of the SPRFMO commission was held in Valdivia, Chile from 25 - 29 January 2016. Two Australian proposals were adopted at this meeting: a Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) for the management of new and exploratory fisheries; and a CMM declaring vessels without nationality that are fishing in the Convention Area to be IUU fishing and encouraging Members, Cooperating non-Contracting Parties, and non-Parties to take action against such vessels.

The Commission also progressed the development of the SPRFMO Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) by adopting a call for proposals, a tender evaluation process and a work plan for 2016.  

Australia agreed to host the 2017 commission meeting in Adelaide, South Australia from 18 -22 January 2017, preceded by a meeting of the Compliance and Technical Committee from 14 -16 January 2017.

​For more information on the SPRFMO see the SPRFMO website.