HONOLULU (7 Feb. 2017) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is pleasedto announce the release of the 2015 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region. Pelagic fisheries are the single largest fishery sector in the region, accounting for more than 90 percent of the landings and value of commercial fish catches. Recreational pelagic fisheries and charter fisheries are also extremely important in the Western Pacific. Noncommercial catches of some species in Hawai’i, such as yellowfin tuna, may exceed the commercial catch. For-hire or charter fisheries are also very important in Hawai’i, where the charter fleet in Kona is the largest charter fishery in the world based on blue marlin.
“The 2015 SAFE Report represents a major advance in the monitoring and evaluation of the pelagic fisheries in our region,” said Council Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds. “Besides the usual complement of fishery modules found in previous reports, the 2015 report has in-depth chapters on protected species, stock assessment summaries, socio-economics and human dimensions of pelagic fisheries, climate and oceanic indicators, essential fish habitat and marine planning.”
The Council has been generating annual reports on the pelagic fisheries in the region since 1987. Historically, they provided fishery performance data, including but not limited to landings, value of the fishery and catch rates for each of the areas the Council manages.
“We are very pleased to see the completion of this Pelagics SAFE Report, as it covers the major fisheries in the Western Pacific from multiple reporting dimensions and does not just focus on catch and landed values,” noted Council Chair Edwin A. Ebisui Jr. The revised and expanded contents were completed by the Council in partnership with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) and Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) as well as local fishery resource management agencies.
The SAFE report provides the Council and NMFS with information to determine the annual catch limits for each stock in the fishery; to document significant trends or changes in the resource, marine ecosystems and fishery over time; to implement required essential fish habitat provisions; and to assess the relative success of existing relevant state and federal fishery management programs. The report is intended to serve as a source document for developing fishery management plans (or fishery ecosystem plans) and their amendments and other analytical documents needed for management decisions.
The 2015 Pelagics SAFE Report can be accessed and downloaded from the Council’s website at www.wpcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2017-01-31_Final-2015-SAFE-Report.pdf
Under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, the Council manages fisheries seaward of the state and territorial waters around American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawai’i and the U.S. possessions in the Western Pacific Region (Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Palmyra, Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Midway and Wake Islands).
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council: Secretary of Commerce appointees from nominees selected by American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawai`i governors: Edwin Ebisui Jr. (Hawaii) (chair); Michael Duenas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (Guam) (vice chair); John Gourley, Micronesian Environmental Services (CNMI) (vice chair); Christinna Lutu-Sanchez, commercial fisherman (American Samoa) (vice chair); McGrew Rice, commercial and charter fisherman (Hawaii) (vice chair); Michael Goto, United Fishing Agency (Hawaii); Dean Sensui, film producer (Hawaii); Archie Soliai, StarKist (American Samoa). Designated state officials: Suzanne Case, Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources; Richard Seman, CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources; Matt Sablan, Guam Department of Agriculture. Designated federal officials: Matthew Brown, USFWS; Michael Brakke, US Department of State; RAdm Vincent B. Atkins, USCG 14th District; and Michael Tosatto, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office.