‘Good progress’ made at SPRFMO annual meeting
The seventh annual meeting of the Commission of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), hosted by the European Union in The Hague, has concluded with good progress made on fisheries issues, compliance and the fight against illegal fishing.
At the meeting held in late January, the SPRFMO adopted a new bottom fisheries framework which will ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of deep-sea fishery resources. The new framework will help protect vulnerable marine ecosystems and the management approach and measures will be regularly reviewed.
Agreement was reached on EU proposals to strengthen compliance and reinforce the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and the SPRFMO also adopted a proposal to prevent marine plastic pollution.
Despite these positive developments, no progress was made on proposals on the cross-listing of IUU vessels and on transhipment. Also disappointing is the failure of the SPRFMO to establish its own high seas boarding and inspection procedures for the Convention Area.
The EU has set aside €150,000 to support the newly adopted regional Observer Programme but is concerned by the limited financial resources available to the SPRFMO and calls on organisation members to consider increasing their contribution.
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