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WestPac Fisheries meeting to take up three major issues for final consideration

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council logo
Source: Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council media release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 193rd meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will convene in-person on Dec. 5-8, 2022, with a remote participation option available by web conference (Webex).


•           Alternatives for an Aquaculture Management Framework (Final Action)

The purpose of this amendment is to establish long-term sustainable aquaculture in federal waters by establishing a federal management program for developing a sustainable aquaculture industry in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Pacific Islands Region (American Samoa, Guam, Hawai 'i, the Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIA) and the Northern Mariana Islands).  This program is needed to provide the Council and National Marine Fisheries Service with a framework that provides for a review and authorization of where, how and how much aquaculture is developed, to regulate and manage aquaculture activities in federal waters of the EEZ.

At its 192nd meeting, the Council took final action to establish an aquaculture management program in the Western Pacific Region and directed staff to finalize the amendment to the Hawai'i and Pacific Pelagic FEPs, but inadvertently omitted FEPs for the American Samoa Archipelago, Mariana Archipelago and PRIA.

The Council will consider the following alternatives:

1)  No action (Status Quo/Current  Management);

2)  Amend the 5 FEPs (Hawai'i, American Samoa, Mariana, PRIA, Pelagic) and regulations to establish a new aquaculture management program that would include a permitting, recordkeeping  and reporting system for commercial  (10 years) and research (3 years) projects; allowable species limited to the Council's managed species, and limited gear restriction; and

3)  Same management program as alternative 2, but expanded with longer permit durations for commercial (20 years) and research (6 years) permits, and a broader scope of allowable species and gear types.

*             North Pacific Striped Marlin Catch Limits (Final Action)

The Western and Central North Pacific Ocean (WCNPO) striped marlin stock is overfished, experiencing overfishing based on best scientific information available.

Due to the unresolved uncertainty in the scientific information associated with the delay in a new stock assessment, the Council's final action from the 185th meeting has not yet been implemented. Therefore, the Council will consider taking final action at this meeting as follows:

1)     No action/status quo: do not set a limit for retaining (landing) WCNPO striped marlin;

2)      Set an annual catch target of 457 mt in U.S. longline fisheries, consistent with WCPFC conservation and management measures, with an annual retention limit of 434 mt as an accountability measure;

3)      Set an annual catch target of 426 mt in U.S. longline fisheries, consistent with a reduction in catch equivalent  to the U.S. relative contribution  to international overfishing of this stock, with an annual retention limit of 404 mt as an accountability  measure; and

4)      Prohibit retention of WCNPO striped marlin.

•            Alternatives for Fisheries Management Measures in the NWHI Monument Expansion (Final Action)

In 2016, President Barack Obama in a Presidential Proclamation set aside an area of 50-200 nautical miles (nm) adjacent to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) as the Monument Expansion Area (MEA).  

The Proclamation contains specific requirements for managing fishing in the area. Specifically, theProclamation authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to manage non­ commercial fishing on a sustainable basis and consistent with the overall conservation objectives of the MEA.

This action is necessary to administer the MEA consistent with the conservation  and management directives of Proclamation 9478.  This action would codify the MEA's  boundary and prohibit commercial  fishing in the designated area, while authorizing  non­ commercial fishing (including traditional indigenous, sustenance, recreational and charter recreational fishing) in the MEA.

The Council will consider a range of alternatives that include the following options for fishing in the NWHI MEA:

1)  No Action-  not develop fishing regulations for the NWHI MEA;

2)  Status Quo - develop fishing regulations that are identical to current fishing

regulations for 3-50 nm;

3)   Prohibit Commercial Fishing - provide for a regulation that disallows fishing commercially  within the NWHI MEA;

4)   Allow Non-Commercial Fishing-  provide federal permits with logbooks for non­ commercial fishing within the NWHI MEA and allow that catch to be brought back to the main Hawaiian Islands for non-commercial  purposes; and

5)  Allow for Subsistence Fishing-  provide a federal permit that would allow for Native

The Webex link for remote participation is  https://tinyurl.

For further information: https://www.