Federated Stated of Micronesia Longline Tuna Fishery Improvement Project


Welcome to the website for the Fishery Improvement Project for the Federated States of Micronesia pelagic longline tuna fishery. 

The FIP was completed when, in October 2018, the fishery was certified against the Marine Stewardship Council fisheries standard.  

Contact FIP coordinator Eric Gilman at FisheriesResearchGroup@gmail.com for updated information.

1. FIP Participants and Co-leads
Luen Thai Fishing Venture
Anova USA
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) 
The Nature Conservancy
Norpac Fisheries Export
Sea Delight
Yi Rong Fishery Company

2. FIP Contacts
Eric Gilman, FIP Manager, EGilman@utas.edu.au  
Joe Murphy, LTFV joemurphy.ltfv@gmail.com
Helen Packer, Anova USA Fishing & Living Program,
Thomas Kraft, Norpac Fisheries Export thomaskraft@mac.com 
Eugene Pangelinan, Director, FSM NORMA, eugene.pangelinan@norma.fm 

3. FIP Scope and Stocks of Main Retained Species
The FIP scope is for all species caught by the fishery by vessels that are owned and/or managed by Luen Thai Fishing Venture and its subsidiary companies. This is consistent with the MSC pre-assessment, which under principal one had a unit of assessment of western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) stocks of bigeye and yellowfin tuna, and under principal 2 assessed all main retained and discarded species.

Main retained species are:
Western and central Pacific Ocean bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)
Western and central Pacific Ocean yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)
Pacific Ocean blue marlin (Makaira nigricans)
North Pacific Ocean albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga)
Indo-Pacific black marlin (Istiompax indica)
North Pacific Ocean swordfish (Xiphias gladius)

4. Background on the Fishery 
The locally-based FSM pelagic longline fishery, which targets bigeye and yellowfin tunas and incidentally catches various additional market species (billfishes, including blue and black marlins and swordfish, albacore tuna, and other tuna-like Scombrid species), has about 50 active vessels flagged to the FSM, China and Taiwan. The locally-based longline vessels fish at grounds primarily within the FSM EEZ and a small proportion of effort occurs on the high seas adjacent to the FSM EEZ seaward margin. Transshipment does not occur in this fishery because, along with other FFA member countries, FSM prohibits transshipment at sea unless special authorization is granted. There is also a distant-water pelagic longline fishery of Japanese-flagged vessels licensed to fish in the FSM EEZ, which do not land their catch in the FSM, which is not within the scope of this FIP.  
  • FIP Scope: Locally-based longline vessels 
  • Gear: Pelagic longline 
  • Annual landed catch: ca. 650 mt
  • Number of FSM licensed longline vessels that are domestically-based: 50
  • Port sampling: NORMA operates a port sampling program, monitoring unloading and transshipment activities within FSM ports. 
  • Location: Within the FSM EEZ and adjacent high seas

5. Pre-Assessment Against the MSC Standard
A July 2015 MSC pre-assessment is available here: DOWNLOAD.  

6. Other Fishery Sustainability Assessments

FisheryProgress.org:  See FSM FIP record

Sustainable Fisheries Partnershiphttp://www.fishsource.com/fishery/data_summary?fishery=Bigeye+tuna+-+Western+and+Central+Pacific+%28Country%3A+FM%3B+Gear%3A+LLD%3B%29

World Wildlife Fund seafood guides (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland):  http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/conservation/marine/sustainable_fishing/sustainable_seafood/seafood_guides/

Marine Conservation Society: WCPO longline bigeye RED (http://www.fishonline.org/fish/244/Tuna,%20bigeye) WCPO longline yellowfin ORANGE (http://www.fishonline.org/fish/276/Tuna,%20yellowfin)

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch: Yellowfin RED (http://www.seafoodwatch.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/mba_seafoodwatch_nationalguide.pdf)

Blue Ocean Institute:  Bigeye longline YELLOW (http://blueocean.org/seafoods/?seafood-search=bigeye+tuna&x=15&y=8)

7. FIP Scoping Report and Workplan / Action Plan
The current FIP Workplan is for the period 2016-2018 - available from Section 9 (Downloads). 

8. Progress To Date – Chronology of FIP Activities 

·      2010A draft pre-assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard was prepared in 2010.

·      2012FIP is launched by Anova USA, Luen Thai Fishing Venture and the FSM National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA).

·      2012: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission adopts a formal limit reference point for bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks. (This is documented in the meeting report for the WCPFC 9th commission meeting available at http://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/WCPFC9-Summary-Report-final.pdf, paragraph 269, WCPFC9 adopted SC8 para 298 recommendation to adopt 20%unfishedSB for WCPO tropical tuna stocks).

·      March 2013: Luen Thai Fishing Venture adopted a policy banning the retention of sharks or fishing gear and methods to target sharks (available online at https://sites.google.com/site/fsmlonglinefip/home/LTFV_shark_policy_Bilingual_R2.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1).

·      2013: Luen Thai Fishing Venture removed all J-shaped tuna hooks and replaced these with wider circle hooks in order to mitigate sea turtle bycatch rates.

·      May 2014: FIP participants adopted an initial FIP Workplan.

·      May 2014FIP participants agreed to participate in the WCPO Tuna MSC Alignment Group (see Group website at https://sites.google.com/site/seafoodcompaniestunamanagement/home/wcpo_tuna-p1_alignment) and attended the inaugural in-person meeting.

·      Dec. 2014Fishermen training materials (handling and release guidance, species ID booklet, domestic regulations) are developed (see subpage https://sites.google.com/site/fsmlonglinefip/home/captain-training-workshop-materials). 

·      January 2015: LTFV begins using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on frozen tuna, to provide full traceability from the vessel to the end of the supply chain.

·      January 2015: LTFV begins to outfit all FSM-based vessels with electronic monitoring equipment with plans to have 100% of vessels outfitted by the end of 2015.

·      July 2015: A new MSC pre-assessment is completed (MEC, 2015) and report is posted on the FIP websites (available online at https://sites.google.com/site/fsmlonglinefip/home/FSM_MSC_PA_July2015.PDF?attredirects=0&d=1). The two units of certification covered by the pre- assessment were western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) stocks of bigeye and yellowfin tunas caught by vessels owned and managed by Luen Thai Fishing Venture (LTFV). 

· Sept. 2015: A Draft 2016-2018 FIP workplan is distributed for comment period.

·   October 2015: Fishery improves precautionary approach by planning implementation in 2016 of the PNA longline vessel day scheme, providing a new input control mechanism

·   December 2015: SFP longline best practice guidance report, and other sources of information on best practices for pelagic longline tuna fisheries are posted to the FIP website (see downloads section, below) and distributed to FIP participants. Best practices were also distributed to captains and crew through capacity building training workshops (see downloads section, below).

·   January 2016: Participants prepared updated training materials for train-the-trainer workshops, and plan for a refresher workshop to be held in April 2016

· April 2016: A train-the-trainer workshop was convened - the purpose of the workshop was to train Luen Thai Fishing Venture (LTFV) staff who in turn will train fishing base managers to instruct longline captains in methods to handle and release at-risk species, government longline rules, LTFV policy banning the use of gear designs and methods to target sharks and banning the retention of sharks including shark fins, proper use of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community/Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency logbook form for pelagic longline fishers, and training in species identification to improve logbook entries. See the DOWNLOADS section for more information. 

· May 2016: FIP participants contribute to development of a WCPO Tuna MSC Alignment Group workplan and development of a 2016 annual short-term position statement to push for improvements with sub-regional (PNA, FFA) and regional (WCPFC) management systems.

· Oct. 2016: FIP participants contributed to the WCPO Tuna MSC Alignment Group’s development of a list of highest priority achievements at the thirteenth regular session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC13) related to addressing deficits in harvest strategies – which individual participants of the Alignment Group are to raise to the attention of delegations to WCPFC (see Alignment Group website for the harvest strategy priority actions, or download it HERE). 

· Dec. 2016: FIP participants attend meetings with coordinators of the WCPO Tuna MSC Alignment Group to discuss 2016 activities and plan 2017 activities, focusing on addressing harvest strategy deficits for WCPO tuna stocks. See https://sites.google.com/site/seafoodcompaniestunamanagement/home/WCPO_Tuna_Alignment_Group/links/21-may-2014-meeting-FIP-MSC-Aligning-P1 for the 2017 Alignment Group action plan.

· Dec. 2016: Captains and crew of all 29 vessels covered by this improvement project received training during 2016 - see the training report in Section 9 (Downloads).

· Dec. 2016: During the 2016 annual session convened in December, WCPFC13 made some progress in implementing elements of the initial WCPFC harvest strategy workplan, and adopted a revised workplan. The WCPFC13 summary report is available at https://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/draft%20summary%20report%20WCPFC13_clean%20circulated%20for%20CCMs%20and%20observers%20comments_complete%20V2_0.pdf  and the updated WCPFC harvest strategy workplan is available at https://www.wcpfc.int/doc/supplcmm-2015-04/updated-workplan-harvest-strategies-2016-2019-and-record-outcomes-wcpfc13See the WCPFC13 summary report Agenda item 8 for a summary of accomplishments at the December 2016 meeting of the tuna RFMO related to adopting harvest strategy elements, a rebuilding schedule for WCPO bigeye tuna and see agenda item 9.6 for information on the draft replacement tropical tuna measure ("bridging tropical tuna CMM").

· Jan. 2017: The domestic management authority (NORMA), TNC and LTFV begin an electronic monitoring (EM) pilot project. Satlink EM systems are installed on five LTFV vessels, and NORMA staff is trained and begin to analyze EM data and enter the data into the national longline observer program database. 

·  Feb. 2017: FIP participants contributed to developing an Alignment Group 2017 position statement, and co-signed the statement, which the WCPFC secretariat distributed to WCPFC parties on 14 Feb. – see http://tinyurl.com/Align-group-2017.

·  July 2017: progress report on electronic monitoring project DOWNLOAD

·  Aug. 2017: New stock assessment report for WCPO bigeye tuna is published (see https://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/SC13-SA-WP-05%20%5Bbet-assessment%5D%20REV1.pdf) indicating that, based on new understanding on the stock structure, life history parameters, and recent recruitment, the stock is determined to not be overfished and overfishing not occurring.

·  August 2017: The 13th meeting of the WCPFC scientific committee has met all milestones set out in the current WCPFC harvest strategy workplan (updated at WCPFC13, Dec. 2016). Click HERE for a summary of how each harvest strategy workplan milestone for bigeye and yellowfin tuna have been met at SC13, and click HERE for the current WCPFC harvest strategy workplan.

·  November 2017: The fishery enters full assessment against the MSC fisheries standard for WCPO bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks. 

·  December 2017WCPFC at their 14th regular session adopted a new tropical tuna measure, which increased bigeye tuna catch limits, established an intersessional working group wo develop a unified shark measure for adoption in 2018, directed their Scientific Committee to consider options for expanding the sea turtle measure to include all pelagic longline fisheries, adopted a replacement seabird bycatch measure, adopted a measure on marine pollution basically emphasizing existing prohibitions under MARPOL Annex V, and other measures. See https://tinyurl.com/WCPFC14-outcomes and download at https://sites.google.com/site/wcpobetfip/home/WCPFC-press-release_Dec2017.png?attredirects=0&d=1 for a press release issued by the WCPFC secretariat’s Executive Director and the WCPFC Chair summarizing the key outcomes of WCPFC14. And see the WCPFC14 meeting report at https://www.wcpfc.int/meetings/wcpfc14

Mike McCoy (left) demonstrating to LTFV manager of the captain training program Li Pan (right) the method for using a long-handled line cutter, April 2016 longline captain train-the-trainer workshop.
Li Pan (left), LTFV captain training manager, at the April 2016 captain train-the-trainer workshop. 


Current MSC pre-assessment report

Initial (poor quality) MSC pre-assessment reportDOWNLOAD

Train-the-trainer Workshop Summary report, April 2016 DOWNLOAD

Captain Capacity-building training materials - link to subpage

2016 Captain and Crew Training Report

Current FIP Workplan 2016-2018

Electronic Monitoring progress report - July 2017 DOWNLOAD

FIP Progress Reports
Dec. 2015 DOWNLOAD
Oct. 2016 DOWNLOAD
Feb. 2017 DOWNLOAD
Sept. 2017 DOWNLOAD
April 2018 DOWNLOAD

Best Practice Guidance for Bycatch Mitigation in Pelagic Longline Fisheries:
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership report - Morgan et al. 2015 - DOWNLOAD
Marine Policy peer-reviewed journal article - 2011.  Bycatch governance and best practice mitigation technology in global tuna fisheries.  Marine Policy 35: 590-609. DOWNLOAD
Fish and Fisheries peer-reviewed journal article - In press 2015 - A cross-taxa assessment of pelagic longline bycatch mitigation measures: conflicts and mutual benefits to elasmobranchs - Download on ResearchGate at url: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285574308_A_cross-taxa_assessment_of_pelagic_longline_bycatch_mitigation_measures_conflicts_and_mutual_benefits_to_elasmobranchs

Luen Thai Fishing Venture policy banning the retention of sharks or fishing gear and methods to target sharks (available online at https://sites.google.com/site/fsmlonglinefip/home/LTFV_shark_policy_Bilingual_R2.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1).

NORPAC Nov. 2016 Letter to WCPFC members urging adoption of interim reference points DOWNLOAD
Boston Seafood Show FIP presentation March 2018 DOWNLOAD

10. Planed and In-progress Activities

·        Captain training: Captains receive annual training in protected species handling/release and logbook reporting

·        Electronic monitoring: LTFV, The Nature Conservancy and NORMA are conducting an electronic monitoring (EM) pilot project. The project aims to develop the institutional capacity of NORMA, the domestic management authority, to manage an EM system. Satlink EM systems were installed on 6 LTFV vessels in 2016 and FSM government office-based staff was trained, began analyzing the EM data, and began to have EM data contribute to the national observer program.

·        Independent audit: Have an MSC CAB conduct an independent audit of the FIP status and progress (starting with the first audit to be conducted 3 years from the initial publication of a record to the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solution’s FIP tracking website, FisheryProgress.org).