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High Seas South Pacific Tuna Fisheries

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Gear Type Purse seine, longline, and troll
Category Category II – all gear types
Estimated Number of Participants Purse seine - 38;
Longline - 2;
Troll - 4
Target Species Albacore tuna
Applicable Take Reduction Plans N/A
Observer Coverage Under the SPTT, observers are recruited from the Pacific Island Countries and then trained and deployed by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Many of the FFA deployed observers serve in and have experience from domestic observer programs active in each observer’s respective country. The target observer level coverage is 20% of U.S. purse seine vessels, the full costs of which are the responsibility of the U.S. purse seine vessel owners.
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured The LOF states that the species/stocks killed/injured in each fishery are “undetermined.” While observer data from January 1997–June 2002 show that 11 sets resulted in interactions with marine mammals, the data do not indicate the species interacting with the fishery, only that the animals were ‘‘unidentified whales, marine mammals, or dolphin/porpoise.”

1 Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

While there is a formal observer program for fishing in the South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT) area, information on marine mammal stock abundance in the area is scarce and observer reports of interactions between marine mammals and fisheries are not yet specific enough to determine the level of marine mammal mortality and serious injury.

Distribution

The SPTT manages access of U.S. purse seine vessels targeting tuna (skipjack and yellowfin) within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of 16 Pacific Island Countries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean that are party to the Treaty. The SPTT Area includes the waters from north of 60° S. lat. and east of 90° E. long. subject to the fishing jurisdiction of Pacific Island parties, and all waters within rhumb lines connecting multiple geographic coordinates, and north along the 152° E. long. out to the border of the Australian EEZ. The Treaty Area includes portions of waters in the EEZs of most of the Pacific Island Countries included in the Treaty.

Gear Description

The SPTT was intended to apply only to U.S. purse seine vessels; however, provisions have been made to accommodate high seas fishing by U.S. albacore tuna troll and U.S. longline vessels within the Treaty Area.

Management

Both a SPTT and a High Seas Fishing Compliance Act (HSFCA) permit are required to fish in SPTT waters.

 

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) Category II - all gear types (2009)
Original Number of Participants Purse seine- 23; Longline- 2; Troll- 1
Basis for Original Classification While there was a formal observer program for fishing in the SPTT area, information on marine mammal stock abundance in the area was scarce and observer reports of fishery interactions were not specific enough to determine the level of marine mammal serious injury and mortality. Therefore, all gear types were listed as Category II, the appropriate classification for new fisheries on the LOF for which there is little information on which to base a classification.
Past Names N/A
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A

 

Timeline of Changes

2012
  • Purse seine: Estimated number of participants was updated from 35 to 33.
  • Longline: Estimated number of participants was updated from 8 to 11.
2011
  • Purse seine: Estimated number of participants was updated from 36 to 35.
  • Longline: Estimated number of participants was updated from 3 to 8.
2010
  • Purse seine: Estimated number of participants was updated from 23 to 36.
  • Longline: Estimated number of participants was updated from 2 to 3.
  • Troll: Estimated number of participants was updated from 1 to 3.


 

Updated December 14, 2016