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South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO)
The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) is an intergovernmental organization that manages all species and straddling stocks, except highly migratory species, within the waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean beyond areas of national jurisdiction. However, the SPRFMO members also have a duty to comply with the policies and measures within areas of national jurisdiction.
The objective of the SPRFMO is to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources through the application of the precautionary approach and an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.
SPRFMO has 13 members including Australia, Belize, Chile, China, Cook Islands, Cuba, Denmark on behalf of the Faroe Islands, European Union, South Korea, Russia, Chinese Taipei, Vanuatu, and New Zealand.
It also has six cooperating non-contracting party countries including Colombia, Ecuador, Liberia, Panama, Peru, and the United States.
The cooperating non-contracting parties can participate at meetings, comply with measures adopted by the SPRFMO, provide data, and respond to allegations of violations of measures. Non-contracting parties are subject to revocation of status and/or sanctions for failing to comply with SPRFMO measures.
GOVERNANCE AND DECISION-MAKING
The SPRFMO Commission is the main decision-making body. Cooperating non-members may not vote, but can choose to be bound by the decisions of the Commission.
The Commission makes decisions by consensus, but there are provisions for voting, if required. The decisions of the Commission are binding against members and cooperating non-contracting parties, and are enforced by the SPRFMO. The Commission can also establish monitoring, control, surveillance, compliance, and enforcement procedures, including non-discriminatory market-related and trade-related measures.
There are also a series of subsidiary bodies, including a Scientific Committee, Compliance and Technical Committee, Eastern Sub-regional Management Committee, Western Sub-regional Management Committee, Finance and Administration Committee, and a Secretariat.
International governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other governments may participate as observers (and may engage in deliberations but not decisions) in the Commission and its subsidiary bodies.
HISTORY AND EXPERIENCE OF the SPRFMO ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES
The SPRFMO is a relatively new regional fisheries management organization. To date, it has not had direct involvement in addressing fisheries subsidies. However, most of the country members and non-contracting countries have experience with the fisheries subsidies issue. In addition, the three countries that initiated the SPRFMO are continuing supporters of fisheries subsidies reform in other international fora.
What could the sprfmo produce/do on fisheries subsidies?
Due to its relatively new status, the SPRFMO could be a useful forum to advance discussion, generate commitment, and advance subsidy reform measures. The SPRFMO could adopt binding and other conservation measures related to fisheries subsidies. The SPRFMO could establish measures to prohibit or limit harmful fisheries subsidies, particularly given its precautionary approach towards fisheries management. The SPRFMO could also require information about fisheries subsidies programs in its data collection rules.
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