Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (www.wcpfc.int)

There is one main binding conservation measure covering tropical tuna stocks (bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack) that currently includes, among other things, provisions for FAD closures and FAD set limits, purse seine effort limits, longline catch limits for bigeye tuna, capacity limits for developed nations’ large-scale purse seine and longline vessels, and the prospect of a FAD set prohibition on the high seas in 2017 unless the Commission agrees to alternative measures.

The WCPFC has also adopted conservation measures for specific tuna species, including North Pacific albacore, South Pacific Albacore and Pacific bluefin tuna. The requirements of these measures vary from limits on increasing fishing effort from current levels, limits on the number of vessels targeting the species, or a combination of limits on total effort and catches of juveniles. If fishing for these species, fishers must become aware of the specific requirements.

Regarding bycatch, the WCPFC:

  • Requires implementation of the FAO guidelines for reducing sea turtle mortality and to disentangle/release them when caught alive
  • Caps (by country) the catch of striped marlin
  • Requires specified seabird bycatch mitigation measures depending on gear and location (like ICCAT and IOTC, south of 30° S fishers must use two of the following three measures: night setting, weighted branchlines, and tori lines)
  • Mandates reporting of shark catches and discards by gear type and species
  • Prohibits retention of oceanic white tip sharks and silky sharks
  • Prohibits intentional purse seine setting on whale sharks and cetaceans
  • Enforces a 5 percent limit on the ratio of shark fins to total shark weight that can be retained onboard fishing vessels, and encourages the release of live sharks

The WCPFC also requires full retention of bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack tunas caught by purse seine vessels.