Rules support economic development of Pacific island states

Conservation and management measures (CMMs) describe binding decisions agreed on by the members and cooperating non-members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission at their annual meeting. These two groups and a third, participating territories, are known collectively as CCMs. Among the members are the 14 small island developing states (SIDS) of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

CMMs direct the policies and rules of SIDS and other members for managing tuna fisheries. They include ways of capturing employment and revenue benefits from oceanic fishing. 

Resolutions describe non-binding statements and recommendations agreed on by members and cooperating non-members of the WCPFC. 

WCPFC maintains updates to the CMMs and resolutions.


2013-07, Special requirements of SIDS and territories
  • Provide institutional support to develop the capacity of citizens of SIDS in any fisheries discipline. This could be through internships, academic study, and training programs.
  • Promote the development and transfer of fisheries science and technology to SIDS for their economic and social benefit. This includes the capacity to explore, exploit, conserve and manage oceanic fish stocks.
  • Assist SIDS in implementing fisheries conservation and management obligations by collecting, reporting, verifying, and exchanging fisheries data and information
  • Improve SIDS monitoring, control and surveillance activities, including at sea. Methods include regional, sub-regional and bilateral arrangements, funding observer programs, and providing access to technology and equipment.
  • Support SIDS fishery industries to help them achieve maximum benefits from developing their fisheries resources. These should account for at least 50% of the total catch and value of oceanic fisheries, and increase local employment opportunities.
  • Support market access for SIDS fishery industries by promoting awareness of import conditions, eliminating trade barriers, and promoting activities that develop domestic fisheries-related businesses

Read the CMM


2008-01,Aspirations of SIDS and territories
  • CCMs (developed members, cooperating non-members, and participating territories)should improve the ability of SIDS to develop their own fisheries, including on the high seas in the convention area
  • Developed CCMs shall make efforts to reduce or restructure their fleets to accommodate the aspirations of SIDS
  • Developed CCMs shall cooperate in investing in fishing vessels and related facilities in SIDS that assist the development on shore of domestic fisheries
  • CCMs commit to ensuring that SIDS domestic fishing and related industries account for a greater share of the benefit from the catch and value of oceanic fisheries by 2018, compared to 2008
  • When adopting CMMs, members and CCMs need to ensure that SIDS do not carry a disproportionate burden of conservation actions, and that measures improve the ability of SIDS to develop their own fisheries
  • Developed CCMs will ensure that CMMs do not constrain SIDS coastal processing and transhipment facilities, or associated vessels

Read the CMM

Unloaders working on the next shipment of tuna to the markets, Solomon Islands. Photo Francisco Blaha.
Unloaders in Solomon Islands working on the next shipment of tuna to the markets. Photo: Francisco Blaha.

Extra rules apply in PNA waters

Article 5 of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (signed in 1982 and amended in 2010) discusses the role of the PNA Office (PNAO).

One of its goals is to keep numbers of tuna at sustainable levels while maximising the incomes of citizens of member states. The Palau Arrangement for the operation of the Purse Seine Vessel Day Scheme (amended October 2016) and a similar arrangement for the Longline Vessel Day Scheme (amended October 2016) say how the PNAO manages tuna numbers. The arrangements set out the operating rules for these two types of fishing vessels. Under the rules, the PNA members sell a limited number of fishing days in the exclusive economic zones of the PNA states.

Minimum benchmark fees for foreign vessels licenced to use fishing days under the vessel day scheme were set by a memorandum of understanding signed in Palau in 2013, and updated in 2014.

Every year, PNAO economists assess rents against changes in prices and costs, and this information is used to set benchmark fees. Fishing days are sold annually to industrial fishing nations, either as part of a negotiated bilateral agreement or through a tender. PNA members are also exploring options to strengthen the selling of fishing days by auction.

A man and a woman in a small canoe on the water in front of the hull of a ship. Photo Francisco Blaha.
PNA policies are intended to bring economic benefit to the citizens of member states, such as these two fishers in Papua New Guinea. Photo: Francisco Blaha.