International Fisheries Division

The International Fisheries Division (IFD) is responsible, on behalf of NOAA and together with other government agencies, for negotiating and implementing the provisions of international fisheries agreements for the western and central Pacific Ocean.

The need for international cooperation in fisheries management in the WCPO is driven by the highly migratory nature of many of the targeted and bycatch species and the exploitation of common resources outside areas of national jurisdiction, on the high seas.  Highly migratory species (HMS), such as tuna and billfish, have a wide geographic distribution, both on the high seas and inside the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of many nations, creating the need for close cooperation between countries across the Pacific.
 
Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) play a critical role in the global system of fisheries governance. They are the primary way to achieve cooperation among fishing nations, which is essential for the conservation and effective management of tuna and tuna-like stocks that cross national boundaries. Through these organizations, the International Fisheries Division aims to promote international cooperation to achieve effective and responsible marine stewardship and ensure sustainable fisheries management globally. Domestic management is guided by our efforts and participation in these regional fisheries management organizations.

The following RFMOs apply to waters in the Pacific Ocean:

Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOS)

Boundaries and Fishery Map

*Click on map for larger view

NEWS:

NOAA Fisheries publishes a rule to make final an interim final rule that established a limit on purse seine fishing effort in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS) for 2015.View the final rule and supporting documentation here. The final rule is effective August 25, 2015. A copy of the compliance guide for this rule is available here


NOAA Fisheries publishes an interim final rule to amend regulations to remove a restriction that prohibits U.S. purse seine vessels from conducting otherwise lawful bunkering during a closure in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS). View the interim final rule and supporting documentation here. The interim final rule is effective August 25, 2015. Comments on this interim final rule must be submitted in writing by September 24, 2015.


NOAA Fisheries publishes a proposed rule to establish a framework to specify limits on fishing effort and catches, other fisheries restrictions and requirements, and to require, among other things, that certain U.S. fishing vessels obtain “IMO numbers” for fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). NOAA Fisheries is also proposing specific limits for 2015, including restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices by purse seine vessels in the WCPO. View the proposed rule and proposed specifications and supporting documentation here.Comments on the proposed rule or proposed specifications must be submitted by August 7, 2015.


NOAA Fisheries establishes longline bigeye tuna catch limit for longline fisheries operating in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) for 2015. View the final rule and supporting documents here. The final rule is effective July 23, 2015. A copy of the compliance guide for this final rule is available here.


NOAA Fisheries announces the receipt of, and requests public comment on, a petition for rulemaking from Tri Marine Company, LLC regarding the 2015 fishing effort limit and closure of the purse seine fishery in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS). View the notice of receipt and the supporting documentation here. Comments on this notice should be submitted by August 17, 2015.


NOAA Fisheries announces closure of the purse seine fishery in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS) from June 15, 2015, through December 31, 2015. View the announcement, the underlying rule, and supporting documentation here. A copy of the compliance guide is available here.


NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule to implement fishing restrictions on oceanic whitetip sharks, whale sharks, and silky sharks in the western and central Pacific Ocean. View the final rule in the Federal Register and supporting documentation here. The final rule is effective March 23, 2015. A copy of the compliance guide for this final rule is available here.


NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule to implement restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean for 2015. View the final rule in the Federal Register and supporting documentation here. The final rule is effective January 1, 2015. A copy of the Compliance guide for this final rule is available here.