Ocean FAD Articles > NOAA, NMFS fail to recognize "Code of Conduct"

NOAA & NMFS do not abide by the United Nation's "Law of the Sea", regarding Freedom of the high seas & the "Code of Conduct"
14 Oct 2011


After returning from WCPFC-TCC7 in Ponpei, Micronesia, and from the Northern Committee's 7th Regular Session in Sapporo, Japan, it was clear to me that NOAA, and NMFS are not acting responsibly in protecting the US sustainable "Pole & Troll" albacore tuna fishermen and fishery. It seemed that their only interests were to pardon China for not submitting Albacore Tuna landings that are mandated by the Commission. This missing data could greatly effect the albacore stock assessments that came out to be positive. The science used to assess the Albacore Tuna dose not include or recognize a minimal sustainable yield that, if lowered would have adverse affects to the sustainable albacore fishery currently in progress. Albacore "Pole & Troll" fishermen have been complaining about the loss of productivity since 2005. Science should then base the minimal sustainable yield on the sustainable fishery in place, and not on levels they assume for reproduction of the species. In theory, if the sustainable fishery is doing well and thriving, then stocks are healthy. If they are not, then something is wrong. Right now, science has no Minimal Sustainable Yield. If they do, it is obvious that it is not based on a sustainable fishery to yield such species. In order to protect sustainable fishing, science must observe the fishery and use a formula that includes the fisheries status.
Here is a quote from the United Nation's "Law of the Sea":

CODE of CONDUCT for Responsible Fisheries

Article 6- General Principles

6.6 Selective and environmentally safe fishing gear and practices should be further developed and applied, to the extent practical, in order to maintain biodiversity and to conserve the population structure and aquatic ecosystems and protect fish quality. Where proper selective and environmentally safe fishing gear and practices exist, they should be recognized and accorded a priority in establishing conservation and management measures for fisheries. States and users of aquatic ecosystems should minimize waste, catch of non-target species, both fish and non-fish species, and impacts on associated or dependent species.

Why dose NOAA and NMFS fail to recognize "Pole & Troll", the sustainable method for the taking of Albacore Tuna, as a proper selective and environmentally safe fishing gear and practices exist, they should be recognized and accorded a priority?

Also from the UN, "Law of the Sea"

Article119, Conservation of the living resources of the high seas:

1. In determining the allowable catch and establishing other conservation measures for the living resources in the high seas, States shall:

(a) take measures which are designed, on the best scientific evidence available to the States concerned, to maintain or restore populations of harvested species at levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield,as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors, including the special requirements of developing States, and taking into account fishing patterns, the interdependence of stocks and any generally recommended international minimum standards, whether sub-regional, regional or global;

(b) take into consideration the effects on species associated with or dependent upon harvested species with a view to maintaining or restoring populations of such associated or dependent species above levels at which their reproduction may become seriously threatened.

2. Available scientific information, catch and fishing effort statistics, and other data relevant to the conservation of fish stocks shall be contributed and exchanged on a regular basis through competent international organizations, whether sub-regional, regional or global, where appropriate and with participation by all States concerned.

3. States concerned shall ensure that conservation measures and their implementation do not discriminate in form or in fact against the fishermen of any State.

Science, NOAA, and NMFS neglects to include"Pole & Troll" catch and fishing effort statistics.

What is the minimum standard, according to Science, NOAA and NMFS, if any?

Is it because The United States dose not ratify the "Law of the Sea"? Are they not held accountable for their actions?

To be continued...

John Harder