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Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP)

The following section is an excerpt from the Executive Summary of the 2009 Pacific Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan (WPRFMC, 2009) to describe the criteria for a Fishery Ecosystem Plan and stress why it is a central document.  Review the FEP document at

“The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) authorizes fishery management councils to create fishery management plans (FMP). The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Council) developed this Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) as an FMP, consistent with the MSA and the national standards for fishery conservation and management. The FEP represents the first step in an incremental and collaborative approach to implement ecosystem approaches to fishery management for western Pacific pelagic species.

Since the 1980s, the Council has managed fisheries throughout the Western Pacific Region through separate species-based fishery management plans (FMP) – the Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish FMP (WPRFMC 1986a), the Crustaceans FMP (WPRFMC 1981), the Precious Corals FMP (WPRFMC 1979), the Coral Reef Ecosystems FMP (WPRFMC 2001) and the Pelagic FMP (WPRFMC 1986b). However, the Council is now moving towards an ecosystem based approach to fisheries management and is restructuring its management framework from species-based FMPs to place-based FEPs. Recognizing that a comprehensive ecosystem approach to fisheries management must be initiated through an incremental, collaborative, and adaptive management process, a multi-step approach is being used to develop and implement the FEPs. To be successful, this will require increased understanding of a range of issues including, biological and trophic relationships, ecosystem indicators and models, and the ecological effects of non-fishing activities on the marine environment.

This FEP, in conjunction with the Council’s American Samoa Archipelago, Hawaii Archipelago, Mariana Archipelago, and Pacific Remote Island Areas FEPs, replaces the Council’s existing Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish, Coral Reef Ecosystems, Crustaceans, Precious Corals and Pelagic Fishery Management Plans and reorganizes their associated regulations into a place-based structure aligned with the FEPs.

The Pacific Pelagic FEP establishes the framework under which the Council will manage fishery resources, and begin the integration and implementation of ecosystem approaches to management of Pacific pelagic species. This FEP does not establish any new fishery management regulations at this time but rather creates the organizational structure for developing and implementing Fishery Ecosystem Plans that explicitly incorporate community input and local knowledge into the management process. This FEP also identifies topics in ecosystem approaches to management and identifies ten overarching objectives to guide the Council in further implementing ecosystem approaches to management. Future fishery management actions are anticipated to incorporate additional information as it becomes available. An adaptive management approach will be used to further advance the implementation of ecosystem science and principles. Such actions would be taken in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and other applicable laws and statutes.”

The Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan Table of Contents outlines the comprehensive approach to ecosystem-based management of the pelagic fisheries of the US Pacific Islands region.

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council Process →