Determining the distribution of the conservation burden and benefit is a critical challenge to the conservation and management of trans-boundary fish stocks. Given current levels of overfishing and overcapacity in many trans-boundary fisheries, some or all participating States must necessarily reach a compromise with regard to their interests and carry some share of the conservation burden. This article proposes a new approach to distributing the conservation burden and benefit in trans-boundary fisheries, and explores this approach in the world’s largest tuna fishery: the tropical tuna fisheries of the western and central Pacific. Such an approach would enable Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to transparently ensure that conservation burden and benefit distributions are consistent with international obligations. The article recommends that RFMOs consider developing decision-making frameworks that would enable existing scientific processes to determine the necessary extent of conservation measures, while a new conservation burden methodology would then determine the implementation of the measure and its impact on each member.
In2010the Japanese government stated at an international tuna workshop that allocation was a very difficult issue particularly in the context of the WCPO tuna fisheries where much of the catch is taken from within EEZs. Personal notes. Comments by Masanori Miyahara Chief Counsellor. Fisheries Agency of Japan. Commissioner and Head Delegate to the WCPFC. Comments made on 30 June 2010 at Kobe II International Workshop on RFMO Management of Tuna Fisheries. (Brisbane Australia. 29 June to 1 July 2010).
Average delivered value 2008 to2010. Derived from P Terawasi and L Rodwell Value of WCPO Tuna Fisheries (Excel database) (Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Honiara Solomon Islands 2011).
In2009John Hampton presented a SPC study that found that all exemptions were having a significant impact on the effectiveness of the 2008 Conservation and Management Measure for Bigeye and Yellowfin. See: J Hampton and S Harley Assessment of the Potential Implications of Application of CMM-2008–01 for Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna Fifth Regular Session of the Scientific Committee to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (Port Vila Vanuatu. 10–21 August 2009). Available at http://www.wcpfc.int. In the long term Pacific island States appear to accept that these broad exemptions will need to be replaced with specific measures. H Parris ‘Tuna Dreams and Tuna Realities: Defining the term ‘maximising economic returns from the tuna fisheries’ in six Pacific island States’ (2010) 34 Marine Policy 105–113.