Commission welcomes recovery measures for South Pacific jack mackerel fishery

February 1, 2011 16:08

The European Commission welcomes the decision by the 2nd Preparatory Conference for a South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization which concluded Friday last week in Cali, Colombia, to make a substantial reduction in the TAC for jack mackerel, reports with reference to EC.

The level of this stock has declined by almost 80% since 2001, and now stands at its lowest recorded historical level. Scientific advice proposed a 50% reduction in catches in relation to 2010 levels as optimal for ensuring the highest probability for the recovery of this stock, and throughout the weeklong meeting the EU argued for the full reduction. However, in the end, the European Commission was able to accept a slightly lower reduction in 2011, namely 40%, accompanied by a commitment to extend this to a 60% reduction in 2012, subject to confirmation following next year's scientific advice.

The Commission is also pleased that the provisions on implementation and compliance, as well as on scientific advice, have all been strengthened on the basis of EU proposals. These provisions will ensure that in future it is possible to take even better informed and more sustainable action to ensure the recovery and conservation of the important marine resources in this area. Coastal States also agreed to facilitate access to their ports for support and fishing vessels which comply with the Interim Measures.

Four participants in the negotiations (Cuba, Korea, Denmark on behalf of the Faroe Islands and Venezuela), including two participants whose vessels were actively fishing in 2010 (Korea, Denmark on behalf of the Faroe Islands), felt unable to join the consensus on these interim measures, and China reserved its position. The EU urges China, as a very important actor in this fishery, to lift their reservation without delay, so that all involved can work together to ensure the sustainable long-term management of these valuable and fragile marine resources.

The initiative to establish a new RFMO for the management and conservation of non-tuna resources in the international waters of the South Pacific was launched by Australia, New Zealand and Chile in 2006. The text of the SPRFMO Convention was agreed at the 8th International Consultations for the Establishment of South Pacific RFMO held in November 2009, and has so far been signed by Chile, China, Cook Islands, Columbia, the EU, Denmark on behalf of Faroe Islands, Peru and New Zealand. In the interim, SPRFMO stocks are governed through Interim Measures, which were agreed in 2007 for bottom and pelagic fisheries. These Interim Measures are voluntary in nature, but the EU has been consistently transposing them into EU legislation through its TAC and Quotas Regulations.

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