ObjectiveCoordinate the design, implementation and monitoring of policies, strategies and projects linked to the regional policy framework that will lead to the sustainable development of fishery and aquaculture activities.Functions
In accordance with Article 8 of the Convention, the Commission shall exercise the following functions:
From Article 3 of the SPRFMO Convention, the contracting parties, the Commission and subsidiary bodies shall apply the following principles (inter alia):
Area of competenceFrom Article 5 of the SPRFMO Convention, the area of competence applies to waters of the Pacific Ocean beyond areas of national jurisdiction in accordance with international law. Longitudinal and latitudinal delimitations are listed in Article 5 1) (a)-(d) and 2).
SPRFMO area of competence - High seasSpecies and Ecosystems
The designations employed and the presentation of material in the map(s) are for illustration only and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.
All species except highly migratory species.
Given the vastness and great depth of much of the South Pacific Ocean, research into the biodiversity of the high seas of the South Pacific Ocean is still in its infancy. Fine, muddy sediments made up of a variety of foraminiferans (microscopic single celled, shelled animals) dominate the deep ocean floor. Echinoderms (sea-urchins, sea-stars, brittle-stars, sea-cucumbers, and crinoids) dominate the abyssal depths (3000–6000 m). At shallower depths, the seamounts, banks, and ridges are dominated by bottom invertebrates such as lobsters and crabs, and fish living near the bottom, for example orange roughy and alfonsino. Above the sea there are a variety of seabirds that spend a substantial part of their life foraging in the marine environment of the South Pacific Ocean.
Knowledge of the distribution and extent of commercial fishing in the South Pacific Ocean high seas is limited. Exploratory and targeted commercial fishing is thought to have taken place in the area since at least the 1970s.
Commercial fisheries tend to have been concentrated in areas of higher productivity where there is upwelling of nutrients, often associated with seamounts and ridges. Seamounts and ridges are also the only places shallow enough to bottom fish. Although there are numerous seamount and ridge systems in the South Pacific high seas, only the prominent appear to have been fished to any extent: the Lord Howe Rise, the South Tasman Rise, and the Louisville Ridge. There are closely related fish species, and species in common, across all these features.
South Pacific high seas fisheries can be categorised into benthic (mainly invertebrate species that live on the seafloor), demersal (mainly fish, close to the seafloor), and pelagic (mainly fish and prawns, at the surface and in the midwater). Commercial fishing for benthic and demersal species is restricted to a depth of about 1500 m. Dominant demersal finfish fished commercially include orange roughy, oreos, alfonsino, and bluenose. Pelagic fishing takes place irrespective of depth, but tends to be associated with upwelling of nutrients. The dominant pelagic species fished commercially is jack mackerel.
Fishing methods currently used include pelagic trawling, bottom trawling, pelagic longlining, bottom longlining and potting.Legal FrameworkThe Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean (24 August 2012) can be found at: Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean (SPRFMO) LanguagesEnglish. Organizations involved
The Commission shall cooperate, as appropriate, with other regional fisheries management organizations, the FAO, with other specialised agencies of the United Nations, and with other relevant organizations on matters of mutual interest.
REGIONAL FISHERIES ORGANIZATIONS
OTHER RELATED ORGANIZATIONS
Each Contracting Party shall be a member of the Commission and shall appoint one representative to the Commission. Each member of the Commission shall contribute to the budget (Article 15). The Commission may establish subsidiary bodies (Article 9), additional to its Scientific Committee, Compliance and Technical Committee, Eastern Sub-regional Management Committee, Western Sub-Regional Management Committee and the Finance and Administration Committee. Additional subsidiary bodies may be permanent or temporary. The Secretariat shall perform the functions delegated to it by the Commission (Article 14). Decisions by the Commission shall be taken by consensus (Article 16).Meetings
Beginning in 2008, a series of International Consultations were held with the objective of establishing a regime for conservation and management of non-highly migratory fish stocks and protection of biodiversity in the marine environment in high seas areas in the South Pacific.
Following the successful conclusion of the International Consultations, the participants conducted a series of meetings of a Preparatory Conference to prepare for the first meeting of the Commission of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, which will take place from 28 January to 1 February 2013.