Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific (2000)


Article 5

Principles and measures for conservation and management

In order to conserve and manage highly migratory fish stocks in the Convention Area in their entirety, the members of the Commission shall, in giving effect to their duty to cooperate in accordance with the 1982 Convention, the Agreement and this Convention:

(a) adopt measures to ensure long-term sustainability of highly migratory fish stocks in the Convention Area and promote the objective of their optimum utilization;

(b) ensure that such measures are based on the best scientific evidence available and are designed to maintain or restore stocks at levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield, as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors, including the special requirements of developing States in the Convention Area, particularly small island developing States, and taking into account fishing patterns, the interdependence of stocks and any generally recommended international minimum standards, whether subregional, regional or global;

(c) apply the precautionary approach in accordance with this Convention and all relevant internationally agreed standards and recommended practices and procedures;

(d) assess the impacts of fishing, other human activities and environmental factors on target stocks, non-target species, and species belonging to the same ecosystem or dependent upon or associated with the target stocks;

(e) adopt measures to minimize waste, discards, catch by lost or abandoned gear, pollution originating from fishing vessels, catch of non-target species, both fish and non-fish species, (hereinafter referred to as non-target species) and impacts on associated or dependent species, in particular endangered species and promote the development and use of selective, environmentally safe and cost-effective fishing gear and techniques;

(f) protect biodiversity in the marine environment;

(g) take measures to prevent or eliminate over-fishing and excess fishing capacity and to ensure that levels of fishing effort do not exceed those commensurate with the sustainable use of fishery resources;

(h) take into account the interests of artisanal and subsistence fishers;

(i) collect and share, in a timely manner, complete and accurate data concerning fishing activities on, inter alia, vessel position, catch of target and non-target species and fishing effort, as well as information from national and international research programmes; and

(j) implement and enforce conservation and management measures through effective monitoring, control and surveillance.

Article 6

Application of the precautionary approach

1. In applying the precautionary approach, the members of the Commission shall:

(a) apply the guidelines set out in Annex II of the Agreement, which shall form an integral part of this Convention, and determine, on the basis of the best scientific information available, stock-specific reference points and the action to be taken if they are exceeded;

(b) take into account, inter alia, uncertainties relating to the size and productivity of the stocks, reference points, stock condition in relation to such reference points, levels and distributions of fishing mortality and the impact of fishing activities on non-target and associated or dependent species, as well as existing and predicted oceanic, environmental and socio-economic conditions; and

(c) develop data collection and research programmes to assess the impact of fishing on non-target and associated or dependent species and their environment, and adopt plans where necessary to ensure the conservation of such species and to protect habitats of special concern.

2. Members of the Commission shall be more cautious when information is uncertain, unreliable or inadequate. The absence of adequate scientific information shall not be used as a reason for postponing or failing to take conservation and management measures.

3. Members of the Commission shall take measures to ensure that, when reference points are approached, they will not be exceeded. In the event they are exceeded, members of the Commission shall, without delay, take the action determined under paragraph 1(a) to restore the stocks.

4. Where the status of target stocks or non-target or associated or dependent species is of concern, members of the Commission shall subject such stocks and species to enhanced monitoring in order to review their status and the efficacy of conservation and management measures. They shall revise those measures regularly in the light of new information.

5. For new or exploratory fisheries, members of the Commission shall adopt as soon as possible cautious conservation and management measures, including, inter alia, catch limits and effort limits. Such measures shall remain in force until there are sufficient data to allow assessment of the impact of the fisheries on the long-term sustainability of the stocks, whereupon conservation and management measures based on that assessment shall be implemented. The latter measures shall, if appropriate, allow for the gradual development of the fisheries.

6. If a natural phenomenon has a significant adverse impact on the status of highly migratory fish stocks, members of the Commission shall adopt conservation and management measures on an emergency basis to ensure that fishing activity does not exacerbate such adverse impacts. Members of the Commission shall also adopt such measures on an emergency basis where fishing activity presents a serious threat to the sustainability of such stocks. Measures taken on an emergency basis shall be temporary and shall be based on the best scientific information available.

Article 7

Implementation of principles in areas under national jurisdiction

1. The principles and measures for conservation and management enumerated in Article 5 shall be applied by coastal States within areas under national jurisdiction in the Convention Area in the exercise of their sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing highly migratory fish stocks.

2. The members of the Commission shall give due consideration to the respective capacities of developing coastal States, in particular small island developing States, in the Convention Area to apply the provisions of Articles 5 and 6 within areas under national jurisdiction and their need for assistance as provided for in this Convention.