South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation - High Seas Fisheries Resources

The Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean establishes the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO). This body has been set up to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of non-highly migratory living marine resources on the high seas of the South Pacific Ocean.

Australia ratified the convention on 23 March 2012 and it entered into force on 24 August 2012.

Key Measures

The convention applies a precautionary approach and an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. This ensures the long-term conservation and sustainable use of non-highly migratory fishery resources, such as Chilean jack mackerel, alfonsino and orange roughy.

The convention closes the gap that existed in the international conservation and management of non-highly migratory fisheries and protection of biodiversity in the marine environment in the South Pacific Ocean.

A map of the convention area can be found on the SPRFMO website.

How it affects Australia

Fisheries in the South Pacific Ocean tend to concentrate in a few areas, predominantly on the eastern and western sides of the ocean, with large tracts of very deep water in between. The major current fisheries of Chilean jack mackerel and flying jumbo squid occur mainly in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile. The main fishing countries for these species are Chile, Peru, Russia, China, the Republic of Korea, Vanuatu and throughout the European Union. Orange roughy and other valuable demersal fisheries occur predominantly in the western Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand and in the Tasman Sea.

Australia was actively engaged in establishing SPRFMO and its key conservation measures and invested significantly in SPRFMO’s development to ensure its foundations are best-practice arrangements. This has given credibility to other Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO’s) that operate around the world. SPRFMO is now regarded as a model for RFMOs to manage international fisheries.


A series of meetings are held annually in SPRFMO. The Commission generally meets in January of each year, and its Finance and Administration Committee and Compliance and Technical Committee meetings are held adjacent to the main meeting. The Scientific Committee usually meets in September, with additional ad hoc task groups and workshops held on an as-needed basis.

For more information on SPRFMO see the SPRFMO website.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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