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International Fisheries Conference Underway

NEW ZEALAND - This week New Zealand is hosting an international meeting to establish the new organisation for managing fisheries in the South Pacific the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO). The meeting is being held in Auckland and started on Monday (19th July) and finishes on Friday (23rd July).

A Convention was agreed in November last year in Auckland by over 20 countries that will manage non highly migratory fisheries in the high seas of the South Pacific, including deep sea fish stocks such as orange roughy and pelagic species such as jack mackerel. The SPRFMO will oversee the implementation of the Convention and co-ordinate all future management of these high seas fisheries.

The SPRFMO Convention is an international agreement on how the high seas fisheries of the South Pacific will be managed and closes one of the world’s last remaining international governance gaps. Its objective is to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources in the high seas of the Southern Pacific.

The SPRFMO will have its headquarters and secretariat in New Zealand.

New Zealand was the first country to sign the SPRFMO Convention and also holds the Convention text which other countries sign.

“Finalising the SPRFMO Convention was a major milestone for the effective management of the South Pacific’s fisheries” said Ministry of Fisheries International Manager, Jane Willing.

“This week’s Preparatory Conference is the next important step in making sure SPRFMO is properly set up, effective and efficient” said Ms Willing.

Legally binding measures will be adopted once the Convention text comes into force. This will happen after the required number of States have ratified. Until then, interim conservation and management measures have been adopted. New Zealand has done significant work implementing effective interim measures that manage and control fishing activity by New Zealand vessels on the high seas.

“This week’s conference will play an important role in monitoring the implementation of the interim measures and support a level playing field for New Zealand fishers on the high seas” said Ms Willing.

The high seas are the area of ocean outside any country’s exclusive economic zone.

More information on the SPRFMO and this week’s conference is available on the SPRFMO website at