New rules on South Pacific bottom fishing will significantly improve management of deep water fisheries and reduce the impact on the marine environment.

The new rules were agreed on 27 January 2019 at the annual meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), an intergovernmental organisation that manages fisheries resources in the South Pacific Ocean.

The new rules enable sustainable fishing within discrete areas while improving protection for vulnerable marine ecosystems in the SPRFMO Convention Area.

The rules will help safeguard the marine ecosystems in which bottom fishing occurs, and prevent significant harm to vulnerable marine ecosystems.

The objective of the bottom fishing rules is to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of deep sea fishery resources while protecting the marine ecosystems in which the resources occur.  

The new rules are based on substantial scientific data and analysis, developed with input from the fishing industry and environmental NGOs and advice from SPRFMO’s Scientific Committee.

A number of New Zealand companies fish for the valuable orange roughly species in the high seas covered by the organisation.

New Zealand was one of the key countries behind the establishment of SPRFMO, a 15-member international organisation based in New Zealand. 

SPRFMO oversees the conservation and management of fishery resources (apart from highly migratory resources such as tuna) in a vast area of the high seas stretching from Australia to South America.