INTRODUCTION TO THE FISHERY IMPROVEMENT PROCESS
- Sustainable wild seafood comes from responsible fisheries.
- Responsible fisheries are those that are well-managed to control adverse impacts on fish populations and ecosystems.
- Responsible fisheries are well-defined by the 1995 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and supporting documents. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/v9878e/v9878e00.pdf
- Science-based fishery management requires a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and good governance.
- Good governance is decision-making and the implementation of those decisions through a process that is participatory, transparent, responsive, accountable, effective & efficient.
- A Fishery Management Plan describes the physical and biological environment, the fishery, the management framework, the process of how amendments to the Fishery Management Plan are developed, vetted, proposed and adopted, how fishery regulations are created, and the legal context within applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The Fishery Management Plan serves as a Work Plan document that chronicles the amendments that incrementally improve the fishery management plan and governance over time.
- A Fishery Management Plan is by design and necessity, in a constant state of improvement through monitoring, assessment, reevaluation and modification to keep fisheries and fishing operations within sustainable targets. Fisheries and the ecosystem are both dynamic and fishery management must be adaptive and responsive to new data, understanding and changing conditions. For this reason, fishery improvement is a central function and objective of sustainable fishery management under a Fishery Management Plan.
- The Pacific Pelagic Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for US fisheries operating in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was first adopted in 1986. The pelagic FMP was the first adopted in the US. The FMP addressed the issue of foreign fishing within the US EEZ (200 mile limit), observer and catch reporting requirements and banned the use of drift gill nets in the US EEZ waters of the US Flag Pacific Islands.
- Support for an effective Fishery Management Plan requires commitment and performance by responsible parties in collecting adequate quality and quantity of fishery dependent and independent data, rigorous and timely scientific analysis of those data, and a transparent system by which the relevant science, stakeholder and public inputs are considered in the process of preparing science-based improvements proposed as amendments to the management regime.
- The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) is an objective of responsible fisheries as defined by the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, moving away from a focus on single species management to an ecosystem-based approach. This approach is widely accepted as an improvement in management objectives, perspective, capabilities and performance. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/v9878e/v9878e00.pdf
- An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries “strives to balance diverse societal objectives, by taking into account the knowledge and uncertainties about biotic, abiotic and human components of ecosystems and their interactions and applying an integrated approach to fisheries within ecologically meaningful boundaries.” (FAO 2003) https://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y4470E/Y4470E00.HTM
- Fishery Ecosystem Plans (FEP) are Fishery Management Plans that have adopted the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries.
- The Pacific Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan (PFEP) was implemented in 2009, replacing the Pelagic FMP under actions taken by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.
- The Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan (PFEP) presents in detail the adoption of the ecosystem approach to fisheries, the physical and biological environment, the pelagic fisheries, the management program, the process by which the fishery regulations are created and the Fishery Ecosystem Plan is modified through amendments, the essential habitat, and consistency with applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan serves as a Work Plan document that chronicles the actions taken that incrementally improves the management and performance of the fishery and its governance over time.
- A Fishery Improvement Process is a central function and objective of science-based adaptive management approach for fisheries under the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).
- The Fishery Improvement Process is demonstrated by the Work Plan of affirmative steps (chronology) taken to develop, implement and modify the Fishery Management Plan, creation of a Fishery Ecosystem Plan by adopting the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, and adaptive management actions taken to continually improve the management of the fishery for sustainability.
- The fish species managed under the Pacific Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan include the following species produced by the pelagic fisheries of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
|Scientific Name||English Common Name||Scientific Name||English Common Name|
|Coryphaena spp.||Mahimahi||Isurus oxyrinchus||Shortfin Mako Shark|
|Acanthocybium solandri||Wahoo||Isurus paucus||Longfin Mako Shark|
|Makaira mazaraMakaira indica||Indo-Pacific Blue Marlin & Black Marlin||Lamna ditropis||Salmon Shark|
|Tetrapterus audax||Striped Marlin||Thunnus alalunga||Albacore Tuna|
|T. angustirostris||Shortbill Spearfish||Thunnus obesus||Bigeye Tuna|
|Xiphias gladius||Swordfish||Thunnus albacares||Yellowfin Tuna|
|Istiophorus platypterus||Sailfish||Thunnus thynnus||Northern Bluefin Tuna|
|Alopias pelagicus||Pelagic Thresher Shark||Katsuwonas pelamis||Skipjack Tuna|
|Alopias superciliousus||Bigeye Thresher Shark||Euthynnus affinis||Kawakawa|
|Alopias vulpinus||Common Thresher Shark||Lampris spp.||Moonfish|
|Carcharhinus falciformis||Silky Shark||Family Gempylidae||Oilfish family|
|Carcharhinus longimanus||Oceanic Whitetip Shark||Family Bramidae||Pomfret|
|Prionace glauca||Blue Shark||Auxis spp.
|Other tuna relatives|