Suspend orange roughy fishing in the South Pacific until stocks are effectively assessed

Date: January 29, 2016

The South Pacific regional fisheries management organization (SPRFMO) held its fourth Commission meeting in Valdivia, Chile from January 25-29.

SPRFMO manages two main fisheries – the jack mackerel fishery around the coast of South America and bottom fisheries in the South Pacific. The New Zealand bottom fishing industry has been arguing for rules to be loosened as they continue to deplete orange roughy fisheries, but DSCC representatives have been fighting back. DSCC attended the earlier Scientific Committee meeting held in Vanuatu, and showed that the science does not support industry’s claims.

This year University of Hawaii Professor Les Watling attended the Commission meeting in Valdivia and held a side event, focused on new information about the prevalence of deep sea coral and sponges on seamounts fished in the South Pacific. His presentation can be viewed here.

The DSCC made a speech calling for full stock assessments of orange roughy and calling for fishing to be suspended pending the long-overdue stock assessments. The DSCC further insisted that SPRFMO bottom fishing States Australia and New Zealand update their bottom fishing impact assessments. SPRFMO was due to revise its bottom fishing measure (regulation) this year, and has delayed the revision pending a United Nations review of global implementation of its resolutions on bottom fishing in August, until 2017.

The DSCC will continue to push for protection of deep sea ecosystems and deep sea stocks in the South Pacific.