Since its inception in 1976 the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has been guided by the social, cultural and economic realities of the our island communities. In our region, since time immemorial, the ocean has been the primary source of protein. Conservation was the system for food security and survival.
The advent of Western practices, colonial control and the consequent changes eroded cultural and customary practices developed over millennia. Changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1996 recognized special rights of entry for the native people of American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii and Northern Mariana Islands. The 1996 amendments allow a stronger voice for local governments to control their fishing waters and authorized two additional community-based programs for the Council’s implementation, the Western Pacific Community Development Program and the Western Pacific Community Demonstration Project Program.