South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation - High Seas Fisheries Resources

The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) is an inter-governmental organisation committed to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the South Pacific Ocean.

SPRFMOs objective is, through the application of the precautionary approach and an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources and, in doing so, to safeguard the marine ecosystems in which these resources occur.  

Species

The SPRFMO conservation management measures provide the regulatory framework that governs conservation and management practices in the SPRFMO Convention Area.  The primary commercial fisheries resources managed in SPRFMO include:

  • Chilean jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi),
  • Jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) and;
  • Orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus).

Chilean jack mackerel and jumbo flying squid occur mainly in the Eastern-pacific Ocean, off the coast of Chile. Australian vessels operate in the South-west Pacific Ocean targeting:

  • Alfonsino (Beryx splendens),
  • Jackass morwong(Nemadactylus macropterus),
  • Yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) and;
  • Blue-eye trevalla (Hyperoglyphe antarctica)
  • Orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus)

Research on biodiversity within the SPRFMO area is ongoing due to the extent and depth of the South Pacific Ocean. A full list of species managed by SPRFMO is available at SPRFMO species profile.

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Image credit to Alessandro De Maddalena (Shutterstock)

SPRFMO Area of Competence

South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation convention area
Southern Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation convention area

Except as otherwise provided, the SPRFMO Convention applies to waters of the Pacific Ocean outside areas of national jurisdiction, generally south of 10° north and north of 60° South as indicated in the figure above. This equates to approximately a quarter of the Earth’s high seas areas.

The active fishing grounds in the Convention Area concentrate in a few areas. These are the productive eastern and western peripheries of the Pacific Ocean.

Australia’s role and highlights in SPRFMO

Australia was a fundamental driver in the establishment of SPRFMO and its key conservation and management measures. Our significant investment in the establishment and ongoing development of SPRFMO ensures its practices are based on the best-available science and management arrangements. SPRFMO is now seen as a world-leading RFMO in its approach to international fisheries management.

Australia actively contributes to the most up to-date scientific research and data, ensuring decisions are based on the best available science. This helps contribute to the long-term conservation and management of both the species and environment. For more information about Australia’s fish stock visit the Fishery Status Report.

SPRFMO history and membership

In 2006, Australia, Chile and New Zealand initiated a series of consultations in response to a recognised regulatory gap that existed in the South-Pacific. This gap concerned the international conservation and management of non-highly migratory fisheries and protection of biodiversity in the marine environment. As a result of these consultations, it was agreed to establish a regional fisheries management organisation with the ongoing responsibility for this task. Australia ratified the SPRFMO Convention on 23 March 2012. SPRFMO entered into force 24 August 2012.

See more on the history of SPRFMO.

There are currently 15 Members and 3 Cooperating non-Contracting Parties. New Zealand is the Depositary for the SPRFMO Convention and hosts the SPRFMO Secretariat in Wellington. More information is available on the SPRFMO website.

Annual meetings

SPRFMO consists of;

  • Commission
  • Scientific Committee
  • Compliance & Technical Committee 
  • Finance & Administrative Committee

These bodies meet each year in January/February with the exception of the Scientific Committee, which is held in the September/October period. Additional meetings are held on an as-needed basis. Visit SPRFMO meetings for further information.

Last reviewed: 6 April 2021
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