Ecosystem Approach

Jack mackerel school of fish

ECOSYSTEM APPROACH IN SPRFMO

The FAO Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries framework has been developed to implement the principles of sustainable development, the Convention for Biological Diversity and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in a practical, operational manner. A 2020 review of the application of the FAO ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) management within the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) by FAO (Fletcher 2020) identified a set of 13 key EAF components that apply to most fisheries and jurisdictions. This review updates the results presented in Fletcher (2020) with an assessment of the current status of EAF components in SPRFMO.

EAF Component Current status in SPRFMO

Retained Species

Assessment of the main species captured and their catch levels is published annually
in an information paper to the Commission (COMMXX-Inf01-Data-Submitted-to-the-Secretariat.pdf).

There is an annual stock assessment for Jack mackerel and periodic stock assessments
for Orange roughy which are reviewed by the Scientific Committee.

CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing) also requires a full bottom fishing impact assessment with
the best available data, allowing the Scientific Committee to provide advice to the Commission
on whether any proposed bottom fishing would contribute to having significant adverse impacts
on deep sea fish stocks for which no stock assessment has been completed. A series of
ecological risk assessments using PSA and SAFE methodologies have been undertaken as
part of this requirement covering a large number of target and non-target species including
teleosts and chondrichthyans (sharks, rays and chimeras).Management of catch with specific allocations to Members for Jack mackerel (CMM 01),
Orange Roughy (CMM 03a) and other species (CMM 03a) based on Scientific Committee
advice.
CMM 02 (Data Standards) specifies monitoring of catches (including biological sampling) for
all species. Assessment of main species captured and their catch levels is published annually
in an information paper to the Commission (COMMXX-Inf01-Data-Submitted-to-the-Secretariat.pdf).
Members report information on biological sampling conducted to the Scientific Committee via
annual reports.

Non-retained Species

CMM 02 (Data Standards) specifies monitoring of catches for all species, including discarded species. CMM 16 (Observer Programme) Observer data specifications require the collection of specific data on levels of discards for all species. 

Assessment of main species captured and their catch levels is published annually in an information paper to the Commission (COMMXX-Inf01-Data-Submitted-to-the-Secretariat.pdf). 

Paragraph 21 of CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing) requires a full bottom fishing impact assessment with the best available data, allowing the Scientific Committee to provide advice to the Commission on whether any proposed bottom fishing would contribute to having significant adverse impacts on bycatch species. A series of ecological risk assessments using PSA and SAFE methodologies have been undertaken as part of this requirement covering a large number of target and non-target species including teleosts and chondrichthyans (sharks, rays and chimeras). 

In addition to CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing), CMM 13 (Exploratory Fisheries) is designed to ensure that new and exploratory fishery resources are developed on a precautionary and gradual basis and to promote the sustainable management of new and exploratory fisheries. CMM 14a (Exploratory Toothfish NZ), 14b (Exploratory Potting CK),Exploratory Toothfish CL), Exploratory Toothfish EU) set out specifically how these exploratory fisheries will be managed consistent with Article 3 and 22(2) of the Convention. 

CMM 02 (Data Standards) and CMM 16 (Observer Programme) set out a comprehensive monitoring programme for all species including recording discards.

Special Species

CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing) requires a full bottom fishing impact assessment (e.g. SC8-DW07 rev1) with the best available data including consideration of  interactions with marine mammals, reptiles, seabirds and other species of concern. CMM 09 (Seabirds) requires the Scientific Committee to report on the number and location of seabird interactions annually and provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on possible improvements to further mitigate seabird interactions.

Annex 14 of CMM 02 (Data Standards) defines a list of "other species of concern", for which incidental captures must be reported, as informed by organisations such as CMS, the IUCN and CITES.

CMM 09 (Seabirds) specifies seabird mitigation measures. 

CMM 03 (Bottom fishing) requires the Scientific Committee to provide advice biennially to the Commission on any recommended spatial or temporal closures or spatially/temporally limited gear prohibitions for any identified hotspots of marine mammals, seabirds, reptiles or other species of concern, or any  recommended bycatch limits and/or measures for an encounter protocol for any of these species.

CMM 02 (Data Standards), CMM 16 (Observer Programme) set out a comprehensive monitoring programme for special species (seabirds, mammals, reptiles and  a listed set of Species of Concern) as well as mitigation methods in place.

Direct fishing effects on
the broader ecosystem

CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing) requires a full bottom fishing impact assessment with the best available data including consideration of cumulative impacts, allowing the Scientific Committee to provide advice to the Commission on whether any proposed bottom fishing would contribute to having significant adverse impacts on VMEs. SC8-DW07 rev1 includes a cumulative risk assessment for the current effects of fishing on benthic habitats, biodiversity and VMEs. 

CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing) sets VME thresholds, management arrangements to be observed in the event of an encounter with a potential VME,  and management actions such as the closing of some areas to some or all fishing gears.

CMM 17 (Marine Pollution)  requires vessels to make all reasonable efforts to combat, minimise and eliminate abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear, prohibits vessels from discharging plastics into the sea and restricts the discharge of oil products, other garbage and sewage.

CMM 02 (Data Standards) and  CMM 16 (Observer Programme) set out a comprehensive monitoring programme for all species. CMM 17 (Marine Pollution) sets up a monitoring framework for lost gear.

Cumulative fishery effects
on the broader ecosystem

CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing) requires a full bottom fishing impact assessment (e.g. SC8-DW07 rev1) with the best available data including consideration of cumulative impacts allowing the Scientific Committee to provide advice to the Commission on whether any proposed bottom fishing would contribute to having significant adverse impacts on on deep sea fish stocks for which no stock assessment has been completed, bycatch species and/or VMEs.

Article 3 1(a) (ii) of the Convention outlines that fishing shall be commensurate with the sustainable use of resources, taking into account the impacts on non-target and/or associated or dependent species, as well as the general obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment.

CMM 02 (Data Standards), CMM 16 (Observer Programme) set out a comprehensive monitoring programme for all species.

Environmental external drivers

The Habitat Monitoring Working Group of the Scientific Committee analyses environmental data and seeks to understand the relationship between environmental information and changes in spatial distribution and abundance of target species such as Trachurus murphyi with the aim of producing elements that would allow the introduction of information on habitat and behavioral ecology into assessment models.

Social and economic wellbeing-
vessel/industry level

Article 25(4) of the Convention encourages each Member of the Commission to ensure that fishing vessels flying its flag operate in the Convention Area in accordance with applicable international obligations, and with regard to relevant recommendations and guidelines, regarding safety at sea for vessels and their crews.

CMM 16 (Observer Programme) sets standards for Observer Safety, including safety orientation briefings, training in safety at sea, safety equipment and other safety procedures.

CMM 12 (Transhipment) sets up a monitoring regime for transhipments (which has been identified as a risk factor for human rights abuses)

Social and economic wellbeing-
community level

Article 19(2)(b) of the Convention stresses the need  to avoid adverse impacts on, and ensure access to fisheries by, subsistence, small-scale and artisanal fishers and women fish workers when establishing CMMs for fishery resources covered by the Convention.

CMM 05 and CMM 16 exclude small artisanal fishing vessels from coastal developing States fishing for jumbo flying squid from being required to have IMO numbers and Inmarsat or to carry observers, so as to facilitate access to subsistance and artisinal fishing activity for fishermen and women who work in the sector.

Social and economic wellbeing-
national level

The Convention recognises economic and geographical considerations and the special requirements of developing States, in particular the least developed among them, and small island developing States, and territories and possessions, and their coastal communities, in relation to the conservation, management and sustainable development of fishery resources and equitable benefit from those resources.

A Developing States fund has been set up to facilitate the effective participation of developing State Contracting Parties of the region, in particular the least developed among them, and small island developing States, in the work of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies, including assistance directed towards improved conservation and management of the fishery resources and the development of fisheries, capacity building and participation in the annual meetings.

CMM 01 (Trachurus Murphyi) urges Members and CNCPs to provide financial, scientific and technical assistance, where available, to enhance the ability of those developing States and territories and possessions to implement this CMM.

Governance -
Legal and administration

This Section of the website identifies the high level ecological, social and economic objectives that come under the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries framework and sets out how they are addressed by the SPRFMO Convention, Conservation and Management Measures and Decisions.

Binding and effective legal instruments - Measures adopted by the Commission are binding on Members (Article 17 Paragraph 1). Under Decision 2-2018 Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties make an annual commitment to cooperate fully in the implementation of Conservation and Management Measures adopted by the Commission.

Administrative structures in place - Convention (Article 6 Paragraph 2) sets out the structure of the organisation. The Scientific Committee, Compliance and Technical Committee and Finance and Administration Committee meet annually, make decisions, and present reports to the Commission.  See COMMX-Report, CTCX-Report, FACX-Report, SCX-Report.

Consideration of international agreements and other bodies - Article 31 Paragraph 1 of the Convention notes that the Commission shall cooperate, as appropriate, with other regional fisheries management organisations, the FAO, with other specialised agencies of the United Nations, and with other relevant organisations on matters of mutual interest. This is enabled in a number of agreements, including the MoU between SPRFMO and WCPFC, the Memorandum of Understanding between SPRFMO and CPPS, the Arrangement between SPRFMO and CCAMLR and the Arrangement between the Secretariat of the SPRFMO and the Secretariat for the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP)

Governance -
Management systems

Identification and assessment of risks - Paragraph 21 of CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing) requires a full bottom fishing impact assessment with the best available data, allowing the Scientific Committee to provide advice to the Commission on whether any proposed bottom fishing would contribute to having significant adverse impacts deep sea fish stocks for which no stock assessment has been completed, bycatch species and/or VMEs. A series of ecological risk assessments using PSA and SAFE methodologies have been undertaken as part of this requirement covering a large number of target and non-target species including teleosts and chondrichthyans (sharks, rays and chimeras). 

In addition to CMM 03 (Bottom Fishing), CMM 13 (Exploratory Fisheries) is designed to ensure that new and exploratory fishery resources are developed on a precautionary and gradual basis and to promote the sustainable management of new and exploratory fisheries. CMM 14a (Exploratory Toothfish NZ), 14b (Exploratory Potting CK),Exploratory Toothfish CL), Exploratory Toothfish EU) set out specifically how these exploratory fisheries will be managed consistent with Article 3 and 22(2) of the Convention. 

The Scientific Committee Multi-Annual Plan requires TAC advice for Jack mackerel according to Commission request "adjusted Annex K" harvest control rule. The Long term yield for orange roughy (e.g. SC8-DW10) used for setting catch limits is also calculated with reference to a Harvest Control Rule.

CMM 02 (Data Standards), CMM 16 (Observer Programme) set out a comprehensive monitoring programme for all species.

Governance -
Compliance, reporting and review

CMM 04 (IUU Vessel List)
CMM 05 (Record of Vessels)
CMM 06 (Commission VMS)
CMM 07 (Port Inspections)
CMM 11 (Boarding and Inspection)
CMM 12 (Transhipment)
CMM 16 (Observer Programme)
Cover monitoring, compliance and enforcement in areas of vessels, VMS, IUU, Observers and Port inspections.

The reports of the annual meeting of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies report regularly on risks that have been identified and CMM changes made to address these risks.

Article 30 of the Convention provides for a regular review of the effectiveness of the CMMs adopted by the Commission in meeting the objective of the Convention and the consistency of such measures with the principles and approaches in Article 3. Such reviews may include examination of the effectiveness of the provisions of the Convention itself and shall be undertaken at least every five years.The Final Report of the Review Panel from the first SPRFMO Performance Review, with its conclusions and recommendations was presented to the 7th Commission meeting in January 2019.

Governance-
External drivers

CMM 01 (Trachurus Murphyi) covers cooperation in respect of fisheries in adjacent areas under national jurisdiction, to ensure compatibility in the conservation and management of the fisheries across the EEZ boundary.