CORRECTION: Only High Pocket No 1 Opened For Philippines, Not No 2
April 26, 2012
In the previous Pacifical Newsletter sent on April 24th, we featured the item “Disappointing Outcomes at the Last WCPFC Meeting” in the last section.

One of the paragraphs in this article addressed the lift of the tuna fishing ban in the High Seas Pockets 1 and 2 of the Pacific Ocean. In the piece it was stated that a limited number of 36 domestic iced purse seiner vessels from the Philippines are now allowed to fish in the High Seas Pockets 1 and 2 of the Pacific Ocean, which were previously closed areas for conservation measures.

Please Note: It was only the High Sea Pocket No 1 (in the far west) that was opened up to Philippines group-seine operations as per WCPFC meeting outcomes, not the High Sea Pocket No 2 as mentioned in the article.

The report of the WCPFC meeting (Attachment Q: Conservation and Management Measure for temporary extension of CMM 2008-01) states:

“3. - Philippines shall restrict their purse seine fishing in the western High Sea Pocket No.1 (Attachment 1) as provided in Attachment 2 and shall not fish in the High Sea Pocket No.2.”

In exchange for the Philippine fishing access (Pocket No 1), the Philippine government must report its catch and limit the number of fishing vessels to 36. Filipino vessels must also apply for international fishing permits before entering pocket 1 and have a 100% observer on board.

The confusion is originated from paragraph 22 of CMM 2008-01 where a “theoretical opening” is allowed for both of these high seas pockets (1 and 2) to all other purse-seine vessels. Nonetheless, this WCPFC decision does not have an effect in Practice since the PNA or domestic rules prohibit all purse seiners with PNA licenses, from fishing in the high seas pockets in order to maintain conservation measures.
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