Cooks leads the way

Quota system for albacore, bigeye

The Cook Islands has become the first Pacific Island nation to adopt a quota management system (QMS) for its longline fishery to control catches of albacore and bigeye tuna. The Marine Resources (Large Pelagic Longline Fishery and Quota Management System) Regulations 2016 approved by Cabinet and the Executive Council last week, mark a significant step forward in allowing the Cook Islands to commit to a catch limit agreed to among Pacific Island countries through the Tokelau Arrangement for the Management of the South Pacific Longline Fishery and harvest strategy regulations being developed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).  

A fishery based on catch limits under a QMS is a management system that is globally regarded as best practice for commercial fisheries, and is supported by international environmental groups, including WWF. “We have received strong support regionally for taking the lead on transitioning from an effort-based system to a QMS. The focus is to restructure and control the longline fishery to meet our commitment to work with other States to ensure effective conservation and management of albacore and bigeye stocks,” says MMR Secretary Ben Ponia. “We are hoping this system will be adopted throughout the Pacific region. The Cook Islands can now set a precedent as one of the significant longline albacore fisheries in the region, and one of the few with a bigeye fishery,” says Ponia.

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