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Newsletter of the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Secretariat for members, participating territories and observers.
Executive Director, Feleti P Teo, OBE
Welcome to the first edition of the ‘Secretariat Quarterly’ for 2016, which provides updates on our work at the WCPFC Secretariat. I hope this year is proving productive and successful for all Members, stakeholders and supporters of the Commission.
As I write, the Secretariat is finalising the terms of reference for a consultant to guide the preparation of a long-range strategic plan for the Commission. As many readers will be aware, WCPFC 12 in Bali approved this initiative, so we can make the Commission’s planning mechanisms more contemporary and effective. Our goal is a long-term strategic vision (10-15 years) supported by a series of shorter term corporate plans that prescribe the actions required.
The consultancy position will be tendered next month, with a view to having the successful person on board by the end of April. The Consultant will undertake extensive consultations with members and stakeholders, as a basis for developing draft strategic and corporate plans. A meeting to review the work will then be organised around the margins of the Technical and Compliance Committee meeting in September. Final Drafts will be considered in Fiji at WCPFC 13 in December.
We have also spent time over the last quarter reflecting on the successes and disappointments of WCPFC 12. As many readers will be aware, the positive outcomes ranged from the harvest strategy work plan and a target reference point for skipjack to observer safety, the continued strengthening of the compliance monitoring scheme and support for the strategic planning process.
It was also a highlight to have the Indonesian Maritime and Fisheries Minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, as the AGM’s keynote speaker, attracting a range of regional and global media attention with her compelling presentation.
However, some of the Meeting’s important goals were not achieved, with negotiations stalling in a few key areas, including the absence of agreement on meaningful conservation measures addressing the plight of the overfished stock of Bigeye tuna. I am in no doubt that the road ahead will be challenging and arriving at meaningful change will be hard won but we must keep engaging on the issues.
The Secretariat is once again working closely with the Scientific, Northern, and Technical & Compliance committees in 2016 to ensure these bodies provide the necessary advice to enable sensible decisions to be made. As pledged, I will continue to reach out to all stakeholders this year, to facilitate more effective discussions ahead of WCPFC 13.
I wish you and all your loved ones a safe and happy Easter.
WCPFC Executive Director, Feleti P Teo and WCPFC Chair, Rhea Moss-Christian with Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, 3 Dec 2015
Progress on outcomes from WCPFC 12
The Secretariat Compliance team has had a busy quarter, including undertaking preparations for implementing and supporting the new Compliance Monitoring Scheme measure.
The 2015 AGM approved a list of conservation and management measures (CMMs) and specific obligations to be reviewed by the Scheme in 2016-18 and a frequency for these to be assessed for 2016 and beyond. The Secretariat has duly considered this list in its preparation of the online Annual Report Part 2 Compliance Monitoring Reporting facility.
The Annual Report Part 2 online facility for submitting activity reports has been live for a fortnight and CMMs can use the same login details provided last year. Content for the Report is due by Friday, 1 July 2016. If you need further assistance, please contact our Assistant Compliance Manager, ‘Ana F. Taholo (email@example.com) or VMS Manager, Albert Carlot (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The 2016 version of the hard copy booklet that the Secretariat prepares containing CMMs relevant to observers work are with the printers, and in coming weeks will be distributed to the various Regional Observer Programmes based on their request. If you need further assistance, please contact our ROP Coordinator, Karl Staisch (email@example.com). An e-compilation of the complete list of currently in force CMMs can be accessed from this link.
Secretariat technical staff have also been working hard with the FFA and Trackwell on the Vessel Monitoring System transition. The FFA undertook a tender process to test the market for alternative VMS providers to establish if efficiencies or service improvements were available via other providers in the market, particularly as the cost of the current service provider was seen as too high and the VMS technology was not being developed by the current provider at the pace they wanted.
As flagged at the AGM, a tender review panel met during 2013-2014 and ultimately recommended that the service provider be changed to Trackwell, an Icelandic company which provides VMS services to a number of fisheries agencies.
The FFA intends to switch over to the new system a little earlier than WCPFC and the Secretariat is taking steps to ensure that when the Commission switches, all the boats that can be seen on one system are also seen on the other system. The Secretariat will continue to keep CCMs informed on progress with the VMS transition.
The Scientific Committee continues to successfully support the Commission’s work, where the scientific services provider (the Oceanic Fisheries Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community) plays a key role.
The SPC-OFP has provided a broad range of scientific research outputs to SC, including researches on data gaps, stock status, harvest strategy framework and ecosystem and bycatch mitigation.
The SC has also officially taken over the work of developing a harvest strategy framework, which has six elements: management objectives, reference points, acceptable levels of risk, monitoring strategy, harvest control rules and management strategy evaluation (MSE). The strategy has progressed through workshops over the last four years and specifies the pre-determined actions in a fishery to achieve agreed management objectives.
To meet the request of the harvest strategy work plan adopted last December, the SPC-OFP and the Secretariat are preparing an MSE Expert’s Consultation Workshop for June. The workshop will provide technical advice to SPC on the design of MSE for WCPFC tuna stocks, including the operating model(s), treatment of uncertainty, potential software platforms, etc.
The Secretariat’s science staff administer and implement several projects, including ABNJ, JTF, EU, and WPEA projects in addition to contracting 2016 scientific services with SPC and other independent SC work programmes.
Since late last year, the Secretariat has been working with the New Zealand government to develop areas of funding support for developing harvest strategies of the Commission and the catch monitoring and management under the WPEA project. A New Zealand project design consultant will visit the Secretariat this week (21-25 March).
There have been several international collaborations this quarter. ICCAT is hosting a joint meeting of t-RFMOs on the implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management. ICCAT also coordinates a joint MSE technical working group to aid the implementation of MSE and the development of tools and methodologies by promoting collaboration, i.e. by sharing code and data, working on collaborative papers and keeping each other updated on the various activities conducted by the t-RFMOs.
The WCPFC Secretariat has supported the two activities in principle and will actively participate in the discussion.
Upcoming meeting information and announcements include:
The deadline for providing 2015 scientific data to the WCPFC is 30 April, 2016.
In brief - Northern Committee update
The NC11 meeting report was formally adopted by NC members during WCPFC 12 in Bali because a quorum (8 Members) was not achieved in Sapporo. The recovery of Pacific bluefin tuna remains a priority issue.
The Commission has adopted a revised CMM on bluefin tuna which includes a new paragraph: “An emergency rule shall be developed in 2016 which stipulates specific rules all CCMs shall comply with when drastic drops of recruitment are detected.”
WCPFC in the community
The WCPFC Secretariat building in Kolonia is often used to host local events, as part of our commitment to the surrounding Micronesian community, so we were delighted that the 2016 Peace Corp Swear-in Ceremony was held last month at our compound.
The ceremony was attended by the FSM Secretary of Education, Kalwin Kephas, representing President Peter M. Christian. Also attending were US Ambassador, Doria Rosen, Lt. Governor of Pohnpei State, Reed B. Oliver and Director of Peace Corp (Micronesia), Robert Reid, among other national and state officials.
Secretary Kephas congratulated volunteers for their selection and noted that the FSM is a small and young country that welcomes the assistance and expertise of the volunteers. He also complimented those who will be assisting the education sector in Pohnpei State, an area that has been part of the Peace Corp volunteers’ history in Micronesia.
The WCPFC’s Annex building has also been used recently by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Micronesian Conservation Trust, the World Bank and for training sessions by the Maritime Surveillance Authority. On International Women’s Day, the office sponsored the Pohnpei Women Advisory Council that managed local events.
Occasional sponsorships are also undertaken where they will demonstrate the WCPFC’s support of the local community. In February, the Commission sponsored the fifth annual Kolonia Klassic Fishing Tournament.
While the weather was a bit rough, there were a number of big fish caught and the Secretariat’s head gardener, Billy Dakano, won the prize for the largest Mahi Mahi (weighing in at 20lbs). The top prize for the day was awarded for the haul of a 275lb marlin.
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