International Fisheries:

Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)

After years of complex negotiations between the coastal States of the western and central Pacific and States fishing in that region, The Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (the Convention) was opened for signature at Honolulu on September 5th, 2000 and entered into force in June 2004.

The objective of the Convention is to ensure, through effective management, the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks (HMS) in the western and central Pacific Ocean in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and also the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement. The Convention has established a Commission and Secretariat (WCPFC) based in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

The United States played a very active role in supporting the negotiations and the development of the Convention and signed the Convention when it was opened for signature. The United States' domestic procedures for ratification of the Convention were completed in June 2007.

The Convention applies to all species of highly migratory fish stocks (defined as all fish stocks of the species listed in Annex I of the 1982 Convention occurring in the Convention Area and such other species of fish as the Commission may determine ) within the Convention Area, except sauries. Click here for a table of tuna catches in the WCPO by nation.

United States Priorities

The Convention applies to waters of the Pacific Ocean including areas around Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and U.S. Pacific remote island areas: Wake, Palmyra, Kingman, Jarvis, Howland, and Baker and therefore encompasses the operational area of significant U.S. purse seine, longline, and distant-water troll fisheries, as well as local HMS fisheries.

Through the Commission, the United States will be directly engaged in the development of management arrangements for the fisheries for which the Commission is responsible including: measures to manage and conserve bigeye, yellowfin, and albacore tunas, and measures to minimize impacts on the non-associated and dependent species (NADS), such as sea turtles and seabirds. The development of an equitable and operationally effective Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Scheme that includes boarding and inspection arrangements, a regional observer program and a vessel monitoring system (VMS) is now a high priority. Link to the WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels.

For questions about United States participation please contact us


Click here for a map of the Convention area.


Australia, China, Canada, Cook Islands, European Union, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Republic of Korea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Chinese Taipei, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America, Vanuatu.

Participating Territories

American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna.

Cooperating Non-Members

Ecuador, El Salvador, Liberia, Mexico, Panama, Senegal, Thailand, Vietnam.

Organizational Structure

The Commission's primary sub-bodies are the Scientific Committee, Technical and Compliance Committee, and Northern Committee. In addition to these permanent bodies the Commission also employs ad hoc working groups as required. Click here for an organizational chart.


Sessions of the Commission are typically held annually in December. The Scientific Committee and the Technical and Compliance Committee meet annually in advance of the Commission meeting to facilitate Commission members acting on the most recent scientific and compliance advice. The 2015 meetings of the Commission are:

Decisions of the Commission

Commission decisions, such as Conservation and Management Measures (e.g. Bigeye and yellowfin tuna) and Resolutions (e.g. Sea Turtles) are on the Commission's website,

U.S. Implementation of the Convention

For more information on how the U.S. has implemented or is implementing the provisions of the Convention or the decisions of the Commission, including regulations applicable to U.S. fishing vessels, please see Important Documents and Data.

Location & Contact Information

WCPFC Secretariat
PO Box 2356
Kolonia, Pohnpei State
Phone: +691 320 1992 or 320 1993
Fax: +691 320 1108

For questions about United States participation in WCPFC please contact us.