THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is finishing preparations for the 14th regular session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), to be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City from December 3 to 7.
About 700 delegates–ministers and senior officials from 26 member-states, seven participating territories, and seven cooperating non-members in the Western and Central Pacific region–are expected to attend. The Philippine delegation includes BFAR directors, technical personnel, and representatives from the country’s tuna-fishing industry.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Undersecretary for Fisheries Eduardo Gongona are also set to attend the event, which shall follow a related intersessional meeting on a bridging measure for tropical tunas set for December 1.
“We are honored to have the 14th WCPFC meeting in Manila. This hosting exemplifies the Philippine government’s commitment to greater cooperation with our neighboring countries when it comes to conserving the high seas and other shared resources,” Gongona said.
The Philippines has been a member of the commission since its second regular session in Pohnpei, Micronesia, in December 2005. The most recent regular session was held in Denarau Island, Nadi, Fiji, in December 2016.
Formally known as the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, the WCPFC is a regional fisheries-management organization that governs fishing activities, particularly of tuna, in the high seas or waters that do not belong to any country.
In its annual sessions, the commission passes conservation and management measures, which members consider as binding rules. These are aimed at curbing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, protecting particular marine and bird species, and addressing various problems in high-seas fisheries management.