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WCPFC Commits to Implementing Sustainable Fish Harvest Strategy

10 December 2014

AUSTRALIA - A commitment to long-term sustainable fisheries management was adopted at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Samoa last Friday.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, welcomed adoption of the Australia-led ‘Conservation and management measure on establishing a harvest strategy for key fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean’, which sets out a clear framework for the development of harvest strategies.

“Acceptance of the principle that good fisheries management requires the application of harvest strategy policy, including formal decision rules and target and limit reference points for key stocks, is an important step forwards,” Senator Colbeck said.

“There remain substantial challenges within the Commission that need to be resolved in order to ensure the sustainable management of the stocks, but this is a good show of faith by members.”

“While there is still work to be done to develop a formal harvest strategy for each WCPFC fishery, this decision lays a foundation for science based fisheries management. I urge all Commission members to put in the hard work, like we have in Australia, to ensure sustainable fisheries into the future”

Senator Colbeck said Australia is committed to working closely with our regional neighbours to promote sustainable fisheries management to ensure the resource can be enjoyed for many generations to come.
“Australia plays a leadership role as our Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy gives us an excellent experience to share about the successful use of harvest strategies for sustainable management of fisheries,” He said.

“The latest fisheries status reports show that no solely Commonwealth managed fisheries are subject to overfishing so I believe we are well placed to share our experience and knowledge.”

The measure was drafted by Australia and presented as a Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members’ proposal. The FFA is made up of 17 Pacific Island countries including Australia and New Zealand.

Senator Colbeck announced Australia’s intention to develop the measure at the 10th Annual meeting of Forum Fisheries Commission Ministers in Tokelau in July this year.

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