10 Dec 2012

SPC wants Pacific fishery management to embrace harvest control rules

2:33 pm on 10 December 2012

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community believes the use of harvest control rules will overcome the gridlock that is stalling the emergence of a comprehensive plan to manage and conserve fish stocks in the Pacific.

The annual Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting last week agreed on some changes but nothing substantial in terms of limiting the harvesting of bigeye tuna and other threatened species.

The SPC's director of fisheries, Mike Batty, says, currently, stock assessments start on the back foot with a problem identified and the countries involved then trying to reach a consensus to resolve it.

But he says harvest control rules take a different tack.

"We would set certain targets that would be agreed by all the members and then we would set a sort of plan of how to achieve those targets and in some cases, for instance if there is serious overfishing going ahead there might be an agreement that there'd be an automatic measure to close the fishery completely for a certain period of time."