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

This map shows the boundaries of the various regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) in the Pacific Ocean. The WCPFC is located in the western and central Pacific, the IATTC is located in the eastern Pacific with an area of overlap between the them. SPRFMO is located in the southern Pacific and the NPFC is in the northern Pacific. The map also shows the EEZs of countries located in and around the Pacific Ocean.

NOAA Fisheries announces a prohibition on fishing on fish aggregating devices (FADs) by U.S. purse seine vessels in the western and central Pacific Ocean between 20 N and 20 S from December 24, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

The FAD set limit of 2,522 for 2017 (81 FR 41239) is expected to be reached by December 24, 2017 prompting the FAD set prohibition. Read the inseason notice.

Fishing Limits for Western and Central Pacific Ocean Purse Seine Fisheries for 2017

NOAA Fisheries publishes a proposed rule establishing a limit of 1,828 fishing days for 2017 on fishing effort by U.S. purse seine vessels in the U.S. exclusive economic zone and on the high seas in the western and central Pacific Ocean. Comments on this proposed rule must be submitted by October 5, 2017.

For more information about the purse seine fishing effort limits, to view the proposed rule and supporting documents, please visit

NOAA Fisheries publishes an interim rule with requirements for longline vessels operating in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).

Effective August 4, 2017, this interim rule modifies the bigeye tuna catch limit for U.S. longline vessels in the WCPO to 3,138 metric tons for calendar year 2017, accounting for a catch overage in 2016. The interim rule and public comments, can be found at

NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule on area of overlap between IATTC and WCPFC..

The final rule provides that the management measures of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) no longer apply in the area of overlapping jurisdiction between the IATTC and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), with the exception of regulations governing the IATTC Regional Vessel Register. The final rule goes into effect on May 26, 2016. Further information on this final rule can be found here.