The Supply Chain Companies who are members of the Fishing Industry Association (PNG) Inc., Call on the WCPFC to Urgently Adopt and Implement Management Procedures (Harvest Strategies) supported by Harvest Control Rules for Tuna Stocks
The undersigned Association, representing fishing and processing companies in Papua New Guinea, have made commitments to sourcing seafood responsibly, including tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). Further, we recognize that the adoption and implementation of comprehensive precautionary management procedures (harvest strategies) is fundamental to effective long-term management of tuna fisheries in the WCPO.
Of primary importance to us is that the WCPFC accelerates the adoption and implementation of comprehensive, precautionary management procedures. We appreciate that the major tuna stocks in the region are currently not overfished stocks or nor is overfishing occurring. To ensure this status is maintained we are calling on the WCPFC to:
Adopt and implement without delay a management procedure for skipjack in 2022;
Adopt Target Reference Points and continue to develop management procedures for bigeye and yellowfin; and,
Agree on a revised work plan for setting a comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategy for South Pacific albacore in 2023
As companies engaged in the sourcing of tunas globally, we are seeking to ensure that your government supports efforts to adopt management procedures in the WCPFC.
We operate in this region and the sustainability of these stocks is integral to not only our business but also to the overall marine environment.
We recognize that the impacts of COVID-19 continue to present challenges to regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) like the WCPFC.
However, we do not believe these circumstances should prevent the WCPFC from taking action in 2022 to adopt science-based management measures to ensure the sustainable management of the tuna stocks and marine ecosystems under its purview.
We strongly urge the head of the PNG delegation to ensure the WCPFC takes action in December 2022 at its annual Commission Meeting, and advances work in 2023, including through supporting the adoption of proposals, on the following priority issues. In particular, several of these issues are vital for MSC-certified participants to meet their conditions, including established deadlines for Principle 1 conditions:
In 2022, adopt a harvest strategy for skipjack and Northern albacore and adopt interim TRPs for yellowfin and bigeye tuna.
In 2022, adopt the definition of biodegradable and categories of biodegradable FADs; By 2023, develop and adopt a FAD marking scheme, FAD ownership rules and rules for activation and deactivation of FAD buoys, a FAD- recovery policy and incentives, including alerting relevant coastal States; a clear timeframe to transition to FADs made primarily of biodegradable materials; and require FAD position and acoustic data.
Develop and adopt by 2023 a CMM for an Electronic Monitoring Program and Minimum Standards for the use of electronic monitoring in WCPFC fisheries.
In 2022, adopt the ROP Minimum Standards Data Fields in forms FC-1 and FC-2 as data to be collected by observers during transshipment events.
In 2022, require all sharks be landed with fins naturally attached without exceptions and prohibit both branch lines of wire trace and shark lines.
As the Association representing fishing and processing companies in Papua New Guinea, and engaging in proactive tuna fisheries improvement activities in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, we urge you to fully support action on the above issues at the Annual Meeting of WCPFC Commission in 2022, and in 2023, and that your public positions will testify to your support for addressing these issues.
We look forward to the continued leadership of your government in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, a region rich in tuna resources that need continued science-based conservation and management.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Sylvester B Pokajam
Enc: 2022 ISSF WCPFC Position Statement