This document provides a model National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (NPOA-IUU) for a Pacific Island country (PIC). The NPOA-IUU has been developed in accordance with the 2001 FAO International Plan of Action (IPOA-IUU) to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing (IPOA-IUU). The IPOA-IUU was adopted by the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2001 and later in that year, endorsed by the FAO Council.
The IPOA-IUU was developed as a voluntary instrument within the framework of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
The objective of the IPOA-IUU is to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by providing all States with comprehensive, effective and transparent measures by which to act, including through appropriate regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) or arrangements established in accordance with international law.
The IPOA-IUU called on States to develop and implement NPOAs-IUU by June 2004, to further achieve the objectives of the IPOA-IUU and to give full effect to its provisions as an integral part of their fisheries management programmes and budget.
The IPOA-IUU serves as a comprehensive "toolbox" of measures to address IUU fishing in a range of situations and contexts. The IPOA-IUU contains general measures targeted at all States, as well as measures targeted specifically at flag States, coastal States and port States. It also contains market-related measures, ways to support the special requirements of developing countries in their achievement of the objectives of the IPOA-IUU and measures to be taken by States through RFMOs. Some of the IPOA-IUU provisions reflect obligations that many States have accepted as binding, either through internationally agreed instruments, RFMOs or through national legislation.
The IPOA-IUU incorporates the following principles and strategies:
Participation and coordination: To be fully effective, the IPOA-IUU should be implemented by all States either directly, in cooperation with other States, indirectly through relevant RFMOs or through FAO and other appropriate international organizations. The participation of stakeholders in combating IUU fishing, including industry, fishing communities and non-governmental organizations is encouraged.
Phased implementation: Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing should be based on the earliest possible phased implementation of NPOAs-IUU together with regional and global action in accordance with the IPOA-IUU.
Comprehensive and integrated approach: Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing should address factors affecting all capture fisheries. In taking such an approach, States should embrace measures building on the primary responsibility of the flag State and using all available jurisdiction in accordance with international law, including port State measures, coastal State measures, market-related measures and measures to ensure that nationals do not support or engage in IUU fishing. States are encouraged to use all these measures, as appropriate, and to cooperate to ensure that measures are applied in an integrated manner. NPOAs-IUU should address all economic, social and environmental impacts of IUU fishing.
Conservation: Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing should be consistent with the conservation and long-term sustainable use of fish stocks and the protection of the environment.
Transparency: The IPOA-IUU should be implemented in a transparent manner in accordance with Article 6.13 of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
Non-discrimination: The IPOA-IUU should be applied without discrimination in form or in fact against any State or its fishing vessels.
The IPOA-IUU defines IUU fishing. The PIC uses this definition in its NPOA-IUU.
Illegal fishing refers to activities:
conducted by national or foreign vessels in waters under the jurisdiction of a State, without the permission of that State, or in contravention of its laws and regulations;
conducted by vessels flying the flag of States that are parties to a relevant RFMO but operate in contravention of the conservation and management measures adopted by that organization and by which the States are bound, or relevant provisions of the applicable international law; or
in violation of national laws or international obligations, including those undertaken by cooperating States to a relevant RFMO.
Unreported fishing refers to fishing activities:
which have not been reported, or have been misreported, to the relevant national authority, in contravention of national laws and regulations; or
undertaken in the area of competence of a relevant RFMO which have not been reported or have been misreported, in contravention of the reporting procedures of that organization.
Unregulated fishing refers to fishing activities:
in the area of application of a relevant RFMO that are conducted by vessels without nationality, or by those flying the flag of a State not party to that organization, or by a fishing entity, in a manner that is not consistent with or contravenes the conservation and management measures of that organization; or
in areas or for fish stocks in relation to which there are no applicable conservation or management measures and where such fishing activities are conducted in a manner inconsistent with State responsibilities for the conservation of living marine resources under international law.
The IPOA-IUU notes that unregulated fishing may take place in a manner that is not in violation of applicable international law and may not require the application of measures envisaged under the IPOA-IUU.
In the context of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its overriding goal of sustainable and the responsible use of fisheries, the issue of IUU fishing is a serious and increasing concern.
IUU fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in capture fisheries. In the face of IUU fishing, national and regional fishery management organizations or arrangements can fail to achieve management goals. This situation leads to the loss of both short- and long-term social and economic opportunities and to negative effects on food security and environmental protection. In the extreme, IUU fishing can lead to the collapse of a fishery or seriously impair efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted. In many instances international instruments have been ineffective in addressing IUU fishing because of a lack of political will to support their acceptance and implementation, low priority accorded to them by States and insufficient capacity and resources to ratify or accede to them and then to take steps to implement them.
To avoid detection, IUU fishers often violate basic safety requirements on fishing vessels such as keeping navigation lights lit at night, thereby putting their crew and other users of the ocean at risk. Operators of IUU vessels also tend to deny crew members fundamental rights concerning the terms and conditions of their labour, including rights relating to wages, insurance, safety standards as well as their living and working conditions.
In addition to its detrimental economic, social, environmental and safety consequences, the unfairness of IUU fishing raises serious concerns. By definition, IUU fishing is either an expressly illegal activity or at minimum, an activity undertaken with little regard for applicable standards. IUU fishers gain an unfair advantage over legitimate fishers. In this sense, IUU fishers are "free riders" who benefit unfairly from sacrifices made by others for the sake of proper fisheries conservation and management and the adherence to other applicable international standards. This situation undermines the morale of legitimate fishers and, perhaps more importantly, encourages them to disregard the rules as well. Thus, IUU fishing tends to promote additional IUU fishing, creating a downward spiral of management failure.
The unreported nature of IUU fishing makes it particularly difficult to quantify. Available information nevertheless indicates that, for some important fisheries, IUU accounts for up to 30 percent of total catches. Moreover, available information strongly suggests that, despite apparent improvement in some regional situations, the amount of IUU fishing worldwide is increasing, as IUU fishers seek to avoid compliance with stricter fishing regulations that are being imposed to deal with downturns in a growing number of fish stocks. While some estimates suggest that IUU fishing may account for as much as one quarter of total catch in the world's oceans, fully reliable data on IUU fishing are by definition scarce.
IUU fishing is a dynamic, multi-faceted problem that cannot be effectively addressed by any single strategy. A multi-pronged approach is required at international, regional and national levels, with buy-in from all stakeholders involved and affected by IUU fishing.
The IPOA-IUU contains a range of tools to address IUU fishing. Widespread implementation of the provisions contained in the IPOA-IUU presents an opportunity for States and RFMOs to reinforce existing measures and to implement new measures to address IUU fishing.
The PIC is situated in the Pacific Islands region between latitudes 12° and 23° south and longitudes 180° and 170° west encompassing an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 800 000 km² and land area of 700 km². The PIC is comprised of more than 100 islands spread across three major island groups: Taitonga, Havana and Taitokerau. About 70 percent of the population of 100 000 is located in Taitonga.
Being a small island developing State (SIDS), fisheries resources have always been an important part of life in the PIC as a source of protein and for customary purposes. PIC people harvest, consume and market a wide range of marine products including finfish, crustaceans (crab, lobster), seaweed, corals, bivalves (clams, cockles), and other molluscs (such as octopus) and invertebrates such as jellyfish and sea cucumbers.
As an exporter, the fisheries sector is gaining importance particularly due to the rapid development in recent years of industrial tuna catching and processing capacity. Other significant economic activities include the deepwater snapper and grouper fishery, aquarium trade, dried shark-fin and the seaweed fishery. The free on board (FOB) value of marine products exported in 2003 approached PIC$14 million with tuna exports amounting to more than PIC$8.8 million or approximately 25 percent of export earnings.
The PIC's fisheries sector can be divided into three broad subsectors:
The subsistence fishery targets lagoon and reef resources and in some cases, pelagic species associated with fish aggregation devices (FADs). In outer island areas, in particular, fish resources remain a significant proportion of protein intake as revealed by a recent survey that estimated per capita consumption of fresh fish ranging between 74 km (in urban communities) to 180 km (in rural communities). It has been estimated that as many as half the male population in rural areas spend some part of their time fishing. Women have traditionally focused on reef gleaning.
Community surveys are currently underway to determine the nature of local fisheries in order to develop community fishery management plans. It is largely through community fisheries management systems that the government will work to ensure food security and to promote responsible and sustainable resource use for those communities that depend significantly on fisheries resources.
The coastal commercial fishery exploits resources which fall into two main categories:
resources marketed for domestic consumption: mainly finfish, octopus, lobsters, seaweed, mud crabs and various shellfish. In general, these resources are supplied by fishers who are also involved in the subsistence fishery but also by commercial fishers including those involved in the export of deepwater snappers and tunas who supply bycatch and low grade fish; and
resources for export: mainly seaweed, aquarium fish and live coral.
The seaweed fishery includes species collected for domestic consumption and species collected from the wild and farmed for export mainly to Japan. Cladosiphon spp. mariculture is at an advanced stage and a preliminary annual export target of 2 500 tonnes has been set. In 2003 approximately 223 tonnes of Cladosiphon spp. was exported.
The aquarium trade is well established in the PIC and is limited to the export of certain types of live corals and aquarium fish (including hatchery reared giant clam). Licensed operators are limited to specified areas of Taitonga that are opened on a rotational basis through the year.
There is also a small but active sports fishery operating in Taitokerau and Taitonga targeting game fish.
Management and supporting compliance plans for each of the key fisheries, including deepwater fisheries, commercial fisheries and aquaculture are being developed. The Tuna Fishery Management Plan has been approved by the government.
The industrial fishery encompasses the tuna fishery and the deepwater snapper and grouper fishery:
The PIC commercial oceanic fisheries longline fleet grew rapidly from one vessel catching around 200 tonnes annually in the early 1990s to around 20 vessels catching about 2 000 tonnes by 2002. The catch is mainly albacore tuna with smaller, but valuable, quantities of bigeye and yellowfin tuna. Most of the longline catch is landed in Napa, the only export point for air freight out of the country, although some domestic vessels also discharge catch in American Samoa. Over 90 percent of the catch is taken in PIC waters but more recently there has been a small amount of fishing in neighbouring areas of high seas. The PIC does not licence foreign vessels directly. Locally based foreign fishing vessels operate under PIC control utilizing charter arrangements to PIC entities. These vessels are subject to the terms and conditions of access based on regional agreed terms and conditions for foreign vessels.
Falling albacore catch rates, apparently related to oceanographic conditions, undermined the viability of the albacore fishery in 2003 and caused uncertainty about the future of the commercial tuna fishery in the PIC. However, since then a gradual recovery in catch rates has been reported.
At present there are five plants that airfreight fresh tuna to markets in Japan and USA. Tuna, mainly albacore is also exported in frozen form principally to America Samoa for canning. For the year ending June 2003, approximately 1 300 tonnes of fresh and frozen tuna was exported.
As a party to the Multilateral Treaty on Fishing with the USA, the PIC also licenses purse seine vessels that target surface swimming skipjack and juvenile tunas. At present 20 vessels are licensed under the arrangement but since PIC's EEZ falls outside the main purse seine fishing area, purse seining in the zone is rare.
The deepwater snapper and grouper fishery was developed in the 1980s when catches peaked in 1987 at 563 tonnes. Annual catches then settling at around 200-300 tonnes through the 1990s. Currently, there are 20 vessels licensed to operate and in 2003, approximately 200 tonnes of mainly snapper was exported to markets in Hawaii in the USA and Japan.
The fisheries sector remains a critical element of the PIC economy. The PIC Reserve Bank set the contribution of the fisheries sector to export earnings in 2002 at 37.6 percent. The value of exports for 2001 to 2003 were as follows:
TABLE 1: FISHERIES EXPORTS (FOB) 2001-2003
FOB value in 2001
FOB value in 2002
FOB value in 2003
Dried shark fin
7 935 840
4 818 858
3 781 800
1 466 402
3 147 870
1 713 360
1 463 880
2 223 210
3 346 200
Snapper & grouper
1 228 920
1 153 086
1 030 834
1 514 910
2 751 477
3 213 148
13 998 856
14 651 545
13 704 355
In 2002, it was estimated that 105 tonnes of snapper and grouper from commercial fishers was sold on the domestic market along with 497 tonnes of tuna.
An Asian Development Bank (ADB) study estimated that in 2001, the non-market catch of fish contributed around 30 percent of value added by fisheries.
In terms of employment, the snapper and grouper fishery is estimated to employ 150-200 fishers, masters, processors and retailers while the tuna industry employs around 500 people. At the artisanal/subsistence level, it is estimated that 7 700 persons are engaged in fishing.
The PIC receives about PIC$310 000 annually in fees from the Multilateral Treaty on Fishing with the USA. In addition, licence fees from locally based vessels amounted to about PIC$200 000 in 2003.
The Fisheries Management Act, 2002, provides for the conservation, management sustainable utilization and development of fisheries resources in the country. Policy objectives include:
long-term conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources and the adoption of management measures that promote the objective of optimum utilization to achieve economic growth, human resources development, employment creation and sound ecological balance;
to promote and expand sustainable competitive exports of marine products by implementing appropriate fisheries management plans developed in partnership with the private sector;
to provide assurance of adequate air freight for export production; and
to encourage local value adding and downstream processing with the aim of maximizing the value of marine products.
The tuna resources occurring within PIC's EEZ offer the opportunity for growth in the domestic industry. However, major growth would need to be associated with a fishing component that is able to range beyond the PIC zone and a processing component that is able to add value. The resource of deep-swimming tunas, accessible to longline gear, is dominated by albacore tuna (70-80 percent), with smaller quantities of yellowfin and bigeye tuna, and is available year-round. Surface swimming tunas (skipjack and juvenile yellowfin) occur more seasonally in PIC waters and are currently not exploited to any significant degree.
A range of other species occurs along with the tunas, including billfish, dolphin fish, moon fish, wahoo and sharks. These species are commonly taken as bycatch in tuna fishing. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) estimates, based on productivity and the size of the PIC's fisheries waters, that annual longline catches of up to 5 000 tonnes (tunas and bycatch) could be sustainable at moderate levels of exploitation. This quantity is considerably higher than current and historical longline catches and does not take into account the affects that changing oceanographic conditions might have had on resources and their availability. The surface fishery potential may be even higher (14 000 tonnes for skipjack), but it is considered that such an amount would be more difficult to achieve.
On a regional basis, the stocks of skipjack, yellowfin and albacore tuna are considered to be in a healthy condition, but concerns exist for bigeye stocks, particularly in view of declining longline catch rates and increased surface catches of juvenile fish.
The PIC's tuna industry remains in a developmental stage with potential for further growth given essential improvements in infrastructure and a lower cost operating environment.
It will be important to maintain flexibility in the development and implementation of conservation and management strategies to avoid unnecessary costs to industry that could inhibit further expansion.
Given the consistently falling catch rates over the last five years, the development prospects for the snapper and grouper fishery are not robust. There is concern that the fishery has excess capacity and industry representatives are working with governments to develop strategies to ensure the fishery is sustainable.
Further development of other commercial marine products including seaweed, aquarium fish, and giant clams, appear excellent given that the export markets for these products are strong and exploitation is below sustainable levels.
There is concern, however, over the environmental affects of existing levels of live coral exploitation and a review of this fishery is planned.
Fisheries management focuses on the coastal commercial and industrial fisheries.
220.127.116.11.1 Management objectives and measures
The management objectives are resource sustainability, maximization of economic returns and assuring that commercial fisheries do not interact negatively with subsistence fisheries. The main strategy being used to achieve the objectives is the use of centrally administered regulations and participatory management plans, promulgated under the Fisheries Management Act 2002 and the Aquaculture Management Act, 2003. Examples of measures are:
requirement for designated fisheries to have a management plan and an associated management advisory committee in place;
requirement for commercial fishers and plant to be licensed;
size limits (e.g. regulations specify minimum sizes for lobster, trochus and certain species of fish);
gear specification (e.g. mesh sizes for nets);
banned fishing methods (e.g. use of explosives);
requirement for an export permit for marine products: The Customs Department, acting as agents for the Fisheries Division, will not authorize the release of an export shipment of fishery products without an export permit from the Fisheries Division;
bans or limits on the export of certain species: regulations ban the export of bêche-de-mer and limit the amount of live coral exported;
promotion of safety at sea; and
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) certification for live corals and clams.
18.104.22.168.2 Information for management decisions
Information to support fisheries management decisions comes from various sources, including: periodic resource assessments (often with overseas technical and financial assistance); the compilation of information in the "PIC Fisheries Resource Profiles", which contains description of the resource, fishery, stock status, and management for important fishery resources; the Ministry of Fisheries statistical system; the Ministry of Fisheries export database; Customs Department export database; records of processors; and anecdotal information from fishers. Regional fishery organizations, the SPC, Pacific Islands Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), described below, have provided substantial information for resource management.
22.214.171.124.3 Fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance
The Fisheries Management Act 2002, empowers authorized officers (including fisheries, police and defence officers) to enforce the Act and subsidiary legislation. Although there has been some confusion in the past with respect to roles and responsibilities, there is now a regular dialogue between the Ministry of Fisheries, Police and the PIC Defence Service (PDS).
In practice, most of the enforcement activity for coastal commercial fisheries focuses on apprehending individuals involved in fishing undersized fish, gravid lobsters and the use of poisons and dynamite.
126.96.36.199.1 Management objectives and measures
The objective of tuna management in PIC's policy is "to increase the benefits to the country from fishing and associated processing activities. This objective is to be expanded to include local ownership of the industry, generating greater local employment, and increasing the value of exports". A guiding policy principle is preservation of the gains that have been made and management action should not unnecessarily jeopardize the continuing success and opportunities for growth of the tuna industry.
The strategy used to achieve the objective for the tuna fishery involves a limited entry policy combined with conditions on vessel licensing. For the limited number of licences, certain categories of applicants receive priority.
A key licence condition is that the geographic area where a licensed vessel is permitted to operate: this depends largely on the degree of localization of the vessel (i.e., its ownership, nationality of crew and associated local infrastructure).
The measures to be applied in the new fisheries regulations are that:
criteria for priority in the allocation of licences, which include: PIC owned vessels, PIC registered fishing vessels, degree of local ownership, degree of employment opportunities that a vessel provides, degree of investment in onshore infrastructure and the ability to meet quality and export standards.
The licence allocation criteria attempt to encourage greater involvement in the PIC fishery and give vessels making this commitment a competitive advantage. Accordingly, PIC registered-and-owned fishing vessels have access to all maritime zones (including internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea and the EEZ) while at the other extreme locally based foreign fishing vessels are restricted to the EEZ.
In September 2001, Cabinet set up the Tuna Management Advisory Committee (TMAC) to establish:
objectives and strategic directions for the conservation and management of tuna resources and the fulfilment of the economic potential of the tuna industry;
clear and transparent rules for licensing, monitoring and regulating fishing activities in PIC's waters;
guidelines for decision-making, consultation and administration in regard to the tuna fishery; and
national measures for tuna conservation and management that are compatible with those established both regionally and internationally.
A tuna management plan has been developed by the Tuna Management Advisory Committee and is now being implemented.
Although well studied, the deep slope snapper and grouper fishery has not been well managed. Catch rates have fallen markedly over the last five years and some industry representatives consider that fleet overcapacity is a key issue. A moratorium of 18 licences was recommended in 2002 but it is noted that there are now 20 vessels licensed. The Ministry of Fisheries is working with industry stakeholders towards the development of a management plan that will seek to ensure a viable and sustainable snapper and grouper fishery.
188.8.131.52.2 Information for management decisions
Information in support of management is acquired by the Ministry of Fisheries in a number of ways. Licensed operators are required to record and submit daily records of fishing activity, including catch of all species, bycatch, and fishing effort. From time to time, licensed operators are required to carry an observer who collects information on fishing activities for stock assessment, research and monitoring purposes. The Ministry of Fisheries works in cooperation with the regional scientific research body, SPC, to collect length frequency, catch composition and species composition data, for the purposes of logbook data validation, stock assessment and research. The SPC analyses these data along with similar information from neighbouring countries to provide a regional management perspective on tuna resources.
Changing oceanographic conditions appear to be having a strong influence on the distribution patterns of tuna stocks in the region and research on this issue is likely to be increased so as to enhance understanding for better management purposes.
184.108.40.206.3 Monitoring, control and surveillance
The Ministry of Fisheries is the lead agency involved in fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) and is supported by the PDS, Police and the Crown Law Office. Recent institutional developments include:
the establishment of a National MCS Committee aimed at improving coordination of MCS activities among the Ministry of Fisheries and other agencies and a Ministerial Fisheries Council and Operational Task Force to coordinate compliance actions. The Operational Fisheries Task Force has met several times in the past year and is proving effective as an inter-agency coordinating mechanism;
a new national Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), supported by a new VMS section within the Access and Compliance Division of the Ministry of Fisheries is intended to be financed by a cost recovery scheme. The section will maintain close contacts with the FFA Regional VMS;
reform of the licensing activities and fishing vessel register;
development of a High-Seas Fishing Vessel Register that will include a listing of PIC nationals wishing to engage in fishing on the high seas; and
establishment of domestic Observer and Port Sampling Programmes that meet the FFA/SPC regional standards and which are cost recovered.
The PIC has a strong capacity to enforce its fisheries laws, using three patrol vessels (provided and supported through the Australian Pacific Island Patrol Boat Programme) and a patrol aircraft operated by the PDS. The country is also assisted by regular surveillance flights by Australia, France and New Zealand. In addition the Ministry of Fisheries manages a pool of Observers and Port Samplers that are able to monitor fishing vessel activities at sea and at port during unloading.
The strengthening of MCS activities is considered a high priority by the PIC Government and this is shown through the adoption of leading edge legislation to combat IUU fishing, the restructuring of the Ministry of Fisheries for enhanced fisheries management and the establishment of an institutional strengthening project (ISP) for the Ministry (PIC Fisheries Project). Over the last year the MCS network has been successful in apprehending a number of foreign and locally based foreign vessels involved in IUU fishing.
The main features of the Fisheries Management Act 2002 are that it:
provides for the conservation, management and sustainable utilization and development of fisheries resources;
is consistent with the 1982 Convention, the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement and allows for the implementation of management interventions developed by international, regional and subregional organizations to which the PIC is a party, including the 2000 Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPF Convention);
incorporates flag State and port State control as well as control over nationals and requires authorization for nationals and PIC vessels to fish on the high seas;
provides for joint and reciprocal MCS with other countries;
makes it an offence to bring into PIC any fish illegally caught outside PIC; and
provides for the establishment of Management Plans with associated Management Advisory Committees, for designated fisheries.
An updating review of the Fisheries Management Act 2002, is pending and consideration is being given to the possible inclusion of additional provisions relating, inter-alia, to vessel licensing, administrative penalties and presumptions.
One of the core functions of the Ministry of Fisheries is to conduct research in support of resource assessment, development, conservation and management. As part of its capacity building plans, the Ministry is reorganizing and strengthening its Research Division.
The Division, as part of the PIC Fisheries Project and with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat, is currently conducting community surveys to assist in the development of community-based fisheries management plans. In terms of offshore research, capacity building is planned to allow greater in-house stock assessment capability and to develop a better understanding of the affects of oceanographic changes on tuna stocks. This will include computer skills enhancement along with database development and strengthened expertise in stock assessment modelling.
Capacity building in MCS undertaken or planned for 2004 includes:
interagency port boarding course involving officers from the Police, PDS and the Ministry of Fisheries;
FFA VMS training conducted by FFA to familiarize Ministry of Fisheries staff with the regional VMS requirements;
PIC VMS interagency familiarization involving Crown Law and PDS staff;
Regional Observer Training to be conducted by FFA and SPC to train personnel as FFA/SPC qualified Observers;
Safety at Sea course conducted for Observer trainees to ensure basic sea safety standards are known including the use of communications devices;
Port Boarding and Prosecution Workshop conducted by the FFA for the Ministry of Fisheries and PDS officers;
Subregional at-sea MCS training for PDS personnel; and
overseas attachments for MCS personnel.
The PIC receives fisheries sector technical assistance from a number of bilateral donors including Australia, New Zealand and France. Significant assistance is also obtained from international and regional organizations of which the PIC is a member, including United Nations agencies and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The regional organizations have been active for many years and the contribution of FFA and SPC, in particular, is set to increase over the next five years as the WCPF Commission is established under the WCPF Convention, and management initiatives are developed for high seas areas.
The PIC has ratified and is party to the following international treaties and agreements:
1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): the PIC supports closer cooperation between CITES and FAO to improve the applicability of CITES provisions to commercial fisheries. In particular, listing some commercially harvested species on Appendix II (this requires trade in the species to be regulated) would complement RFMO efforts through addressing issues such as non-member fishing and through the potential for multilateral trade sanctions against States that do not comply with CITES requirements;
1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: provides, inter-alia, the framework for the rational management of marine resources and confers on coastal States rights and responsibilities for the management and use of fishery resources within the area of their national jurisdiction; and
1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement: elaborates and extends certain aspects of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and is consistent with some aspects of the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement, sets the framework for the conservation and management of highly migratory fish stocks and straddling fish stocks.
The PIC has ratified and is party to the following regional treaties:
1987 Treaty on Fishing with the United States of America, permitting access to the waters of the regional parties by US purse seine vessels;
1989 Convention for the Prohibition of Fishing with Long Driftnets, banning the use of long driftnets in the Pacific Islands region;
1991 Regional Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries Surveillance and Law Enforcement, providing the framework for subregional arrangements under which parties can conduct joint and reciprocal surveillance and enforcement; and
2000 Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, establishing the comprehensive framework for the conservation and management of highly migratory fish stocks in the Pacific Islands region, consistent with the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC): The primary objective of the SPC is to encourage and strengthen international cooperation in promoting the economic and social welfare and advancement of the peoples of the region. The Divisional goal for the Fisheries Programme is to provide a regional service that provides information, advice and direct assistance to the region through SPC member governments, either individually or collectively, in using living marine resources in the most productive and responsible manner possible. Activities include fisheries stock assessment (for both reef fisheries and highly migratory fish stocks), marine ecosystem research for reef and pelagic fisheries, tuna fisheries development support, coastal fisheries management support and fisheries information and databases within the area of competence. Two programmes form the framework for SPC's fisheries activities: the Coastal Fisheries Programme and the Oceanic Fisheries Programme.
The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA): The objectives of the FFA include: (i) conservation and optimum utilization of the highly migratory species; (ii) promotion of regional cooperation and coordination in respect of fisheries policies; (iii) securing of maximum benefits from the living resources of the region for their peoples and for the region as a whole and in particular the developing countries; and (iv) facilitating the collection, analysis, evaluation and dissemination of relevant statistical scientific and economic information about the resources covered by the Convention. The functions of the Organization include, inter alia: (i) harmonization of policies with respect to fisheries management; (ii) cooperation in respect of relations with distant water fishing countries; (iii) cooperation in surveillance and enforcement; (iv) cooperation in respect of onshore fish processing; (v) cooperation in marketing; (vi) cooperation in respect of access to the 200 mile zones of other Parties. FFA provides some services to its members allowing them to assess the extent, impact and effects of IUU fishing, such as the operation of a regional VMS. However, because FFA does not have a management mandate, as noted above, it is not in a position to indicate activities, priorities or plans in relation to specific issues. It does, however, have important roles such as: the provision of information among member countries and between the countries and the Organization; and assisting members in improving their capacity to manage and develop the oceanic fisheries resources for their benefits.
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPF Commission): The WCPF Convention that entered into force on 19 June 2004 established a Commission for the conservation and management of highly migratory fish stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. At this stage 14 FFA member countries are the sole contracting parties. The inaugural meeting of the Commission took place in December 2004. The WCPF Commission is a regional fisheries management organization with regulatory powers and includes members from the region and distant-water fishing nations. The Commission's mandate allows broad scope for it to implement the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement in the region, including through data collection, MCS and trade sanctions. The Commission will agree on management measures to be implemented by its members including measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. These actions reinforce the need for the laws and practices of PIC concerned with implementing the international fisheries instruments, including the IPOA-IUU, to be in place to discharge its responsibilities under the Commission.
The Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP): SPREP is an organization established by the governments and administrations of the region to promote protection of the environment. SPREP has grown from a small programme attached to the SPC in the 1980s into the region's major intergovernmental organization charged with protecting and managing the environment and natural resources. Its principal mandate is to promote cooperation in the region and provide assistance to protect and improve the environment, including the marine environment, and ensure sustainable development for present and future generations. The island governments and administrations saw the need for SPREP to serve as the conduit for concerted environmental action at the regional level. The establishment of SPREP also sends a clear signal to the global community of the deep commitment of the island governments and administrations towards sustainable development, especially in light of the outcomes of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
Protection of the marine ecosystem is a key issue for the PIC in its bid to ensure food security. All fishing activity that degrades the marine environment and that threatens the health of fish stocks in the country and the wider Pacific Islands region is a threat to the health and livelihood of the PIC people and to the supply of fish, particularly tuna, available to PIC and the outside world.
Coastal marine resources as well as the deepwater snapper and grouper fishery are already under stress from legitimate fishers. Consequently, the additional impact of IUU fishing and their disregard for the state of stocks is likely to be catastrophic.
The PIC is conscious of the fact that the Pacific Islands region's tropical tuna resources are in a generally healthy state and that these resources contribute significantly to the world's supply of tuna. Along with partner SIDS in the region, the PIC is concerned to ensure the long-term sustainability of these tuna resources both for food security purposes and because PIC intends to derive longer term economic benefit from their sustainable exploitation. The domestic tuna industry has expanded significantly in recent years and has the prospect for further expansion. Currently, fresh and frozen tunas make up approximately 25 percent of total export earnings. In the future, domestic demand for tuna will increase as pressure on coastal fisheries resources mount.
The PIC has extremely limited fisheries management capacity and resources and relies heavily on regional and bilateral cooperation to combat IUU fishing. The PIC is committed to developing its own management capacity and to work with partner States in the region and internationally to ensure the conservation and long-term sustainable use of fish stocks and the protection of the environment.
The PIC's NPOA-IUU closely follows the structure of the IPOA-IUU. Like the IPOA-IUU, the PIC's NPOA-IUU addresses general measures targeted at all States, as well as measures targeted specifically at flag States, coastal States and port States. The NPOA-IUU focuses on the offshore tuna and deepwater snapper and grouper fisheries and as such considerable importance is attached to the role of RFMOs in fisheries management, particularly with respect to high seas fisheries management.
The PIC has recently adopted new fisheries management legislation that is consistent with the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement. The legislation also makes provision for management measures that may be required by RFMOs, including the WCPF Commission. In addition, the Ministry of Fisheries is undergoing restructuring and realignment as part of the PIC Fisheries Project. As a result, the PIC's NPOA-IUU is largely a record of actions already underway.
At the conclusion of the document is a list of suggested actions aimed at enhancing the PIC's ability to address IUU fishing. As proposed in the IPOA-IUU, the PIC's NPOA-IUU will be reviewed and if necessary, revised every four years for submission to FAO.
 Ministry of Fisheries
Annual Report 2003. The current exchange rate is (PIC$1.0 = US$0.52)|
 PIC Country Report (draft), DemEcoFish-PROCFish, SPC, 2004.
 PIC Natural Resources Use and Sustainable Socioeconomic Development, ADB Pacific Studies Series, 2002.
 Country Mission Report: PIC, FFA, 2004.
 Country Mission Report: PIC, FFA, 2004.
 Ministry of Fisheries Corporate Plan 2004-2007, 2003.
 Ministry of Fisheries Annual Report, 2003 (draft).
 Ministry of Fisheries Corporate Plan, 2004-2007, p.11.
 PIC Natural Resource Use and Sustainable Socioeconomic Development, ADB Pacific Studies Series, 2002.
 Deepwater Fishery Report, 2003-2004, Ministry of Fisheries.
 Domestic Tuna Industry Development in the Pacific Islands, FFA Report 03/01.
 Ministry of Fisheries Corporate Plan 2004-2007, 2003.
 Oceanographic conditions do vary however and over the last two years these changes have affected, tuna abundance in PIC waters and across neighbouring SIDS.
 1996 National Fisheries Assessment, Oceanic Fisheries Programme Country Report No.9, SPC, Noumea, 1997.
 GEF SAPII Regional Workshop, Summary Record, Noumea, 2004.
 The Australian Government through AusAid, is funding a five-year Institutional Strengthening Project - PIC Fisheries Project which commenced in 2001.
 Fisheries Management Act 2002, entered into force in April 2004 and was developed in 2001 through the assistance of FAO.