International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project

In its first IW project with the PACSIDS, GEF provided support for the process of discussions and negotiation between Pacific SIDSs, other coastal states of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (including Indonesia and the Philippines) and fishing states, on a new regional arrangement for the conservation, management and sustainable development of transboundary stocks of highly migratory species and related species, including support for effective participation by Pacific SIDSs as well as training to strengthen PACSIDS understanding and capacity to participate in the process of adopting new arrangements for transboundary fish stocks. The final text of the Convention was agreed in August 2001. The Convention is very closely based on the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and includes new principles of responsible fisheries management recently adopted by the global community, including the use of reference points and the precautionary approach, adoption of an ecosystem approach, avoidance of incidental bycatch, and protection of biodiversity through science-based manaegment. In terms of the volume and value of catch from the resources to which it applies, the new Commission will be the largest international fisheries management organisation so far created globally; fifteen of the sixteen FFA members eligible to sign have now signed the Convention and is expected to come into force by 2005.

This project has supported Pacific SIDSs` efforts as they participate in the final stages of establishing the new Commission, determining how it will work with the nations, and the initial period of operation of the Commission. It also supported Pacific SIDs efforts to reform, realign, restructure and strengthen their national fisheries laws, policies, institutions and programmes to take up the new opportunities which the WCPF Convention creates and discharge the new responsibilities which the Convention requires as noted under the SAP adopted with GEF assistance.

The Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFM Project) has two immediate objectives that address previously identified root causes of threats to the sustainability of the Pacific region's oceanic fish resources. The OFM’s transboundary diagnostic analysis (TDA), performed for the project’s Strategic Action Programme (SAP) identified the following causes:

- the lack of understanding, which refers to 1) general awareness about oceanic fisheries management issues. While there is considered to be a generally high level of awareness region wide, what does need attention is the understanding of the measures that need to be taken and the legal, policy and institutional reforms that need to be made to ensure resource sustainability. 2) Information gaps on the main target stocks in oceanic fisheries. The gaps in information really relate to the early stages of the development of stock assessment models which still produce a degree of uncertainty about some results.

- weakness in governance concerning oceanic fisheries in international waters of the region.

The OFM project’s two objectives are:

(1) The information and knowledge objective which is to improve the understanding of the transboundary oceanic fish resources and related features of the Western and Central Pacific Warm Pool Large Marine Ecosystem (WCPWP-LME); and

(2) The governance objective is to create new regional institutional arrangements and reform, realign and strengthen national arrangements for the conservation and management of transboundary oceanic fishery resources. In addition, the Pacific Oceanic Fisheries Management Project goals are to protect biodiversity in the WCPWP-LME, enhance the conservation and management of the world's largest stock of transboundary oceanic fisheries and to help Pacific Island States, many of whom are small island developing states (SIDS) and to improve contributions to their sustainable development through improved management of those stocks and the conservation of oceanic marine biodiversity generally.

The OFM Project commenced in late 2005 and conclude in 2011.


Small Islands States (LME)


Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 2131
Project type Full-Size Project
Status closed (Project Completion)
Start Date 13 Jul 2005
End Date 31 Mar 2011
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area International Waters
GEF Allocation to project USD 10,946,220
Total Cost of the project: USD 90,038,153
Cook Islands , Fiji , Kiribati , Marshall Islands , Micronesia Federated States of , Nauru , Niue , Papua New Guinea , Samoa , Solomon Islands , Tokelau , Tonga , Tuvalu , Vanuatu , Regional

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Project contacts
Barbara Hanchard Project Coordinator
Anouk Ride Media and Publications
Jose Erezo Padilla Regional technical Adviser(RTA)