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South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency Convention

Done at Honiara on 10 July 1979

Entered into force 9 August 1979

THE GOVERNMENTS COMPRISING THE SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM

Noting the Declaration on Law of the Sea and a Regional
Fisheries Agency adopted at the 8th South Pacific Forum held in
Port Moresby in August 1977;

Recognising their common interest in the conservation and
optimum utilisation of the living marine resources of the South
Pacific region and in particular of the highly migratory
species;

Desiring to promote regional co-operation and co-ordination in
respect of fisheries policies;

Bearing in mind recent developments in the law of the sea;

Concerned to secure the maximum benefits from the living marine
resources of the region for their peoples and for the region as
a whole and in particular the developing countries; and

Desiring to facilitate the collection, analysis, evaluation and
dissemination of relevant statistical scientific and economic
information about the living marine resources of the region, and
in particular the highly migratory species;

HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

Article I

Agency

1. There is hereby established a South Pacific Forum Fisheries
Agency.

2. The Agency shall consist of a Forum Fisheries Committee and a
Secretariat.

3. The seat of the Agency shall be at Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Article II

Membership

Membership of the Agency shall be open to:

(a) members of the South Pacific Forum;

(b) other states or territories in the region on the
recommendation of the Committee and with the approval of the
Forum.

Article III

Recognition of Coastal States' Rights

The Parties to this Convention recognise that the coastal state
has sovereign rights, for the purpose of exploring and
exploiting, conserving and managing the living marine resources,
including highly migratory species, within its exclusive
economic zone or fishing zone which may extend 200 nautical
miles from the baseline from which the breadth of its
territorial sea is measured.

Without prejudice to Paragraph (1) of this Article the Parties
recognise that effective co-operation for the conservation and
optimum utilisation of the highly migratory species of the
region will require the establishment of additional
international machinery to provide for co-operation between all
coastal states in the region and all states involved in the
harvesting of such resources.

Article IV

Committee

1. The Committee shall hold a regular session at least once
every year. A special session shall be held at any time at the
request of at least four Parties. The Committee shall endeavour
to take decisions by consensus.

2. Where consensus is not possible each Party shall have one
vote and decisions shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of
the Parties present and voting.

3 . The Committee shall adopt such rules of procedure and other
internal administrative regulations as it considers necessary.

4. The committee may establish such sub-committees, including
technical and budget subcommittees as it may consider necessary.

5. The South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC) may
participate in the work of the Committee. States, territories
and other international organisations may participate as
observers in accordance with such criteria as the Committee may
determine.

Article V

Functions of the Committee

1 The functions of the Committee shall be as follows:

(a) to provide detailed policy and administrative guidance and
direction to the Agency;

(b) to provide a forum for Parties to consult together on
matters of common concern in the field of fisheries;

(c) to carry out such other functions as may be necessary to
give effect to this Convention.

2. In particular the Committee shall promote intra-regional
co-ordination and co-operation in the following fields:

(a) harmonisation of policies with respect to fisheries
management;

(b) co-operation in respect of relations with distant water
fishing countries;

(c) co-operation in surveillance and enforcement;

(d) co-operation in respect of onshore fish processing;

(e) co-operation in marketing;

(f) co-operation in respect of access to the 200 mile zones of
other Parties.

Article VI

Director, Staff and Budget

1. The Committee shall appoint a Director of the Agency on such
conditions as it may determine.

2. The Committee may appoint a Deputy Director of the Agency on
such conditions as it may determine.

3. The Director may appoint other staff in accordance with such
rules and on such conditions as the Committee may determine.

4. The Director shall submit to the Committee for approval:

(a) an annual report on the activities of the Agency for the
preceding year;

(b) a draft work program and budget for the succeeding year.

5. The approved report, budget and work program shall be
submitted to the Forum.

6. The budget shall be financed by contributions according to
the shares set out in the Annex to this Convention. The Annex
shall be subject to review from time to time by the Committee.

7. The Committee shall adopt financial regulations for the
administration of the finances of the Agency. Such regulations
may authorise the Agency to accept contributions from private or
public sources.

8. All questions concerning the budget of the Agency, including
contributions to the budget, shall be determined by the
Committee.

9. In advance of the Committee's approval of the budget, the
Agency shall be entitled to incur expenditure up to a limit not
exceeding two-thirds of the preceding year's approved budgetary
expenditure.

Article VII

Functions of the Agency

Subject to direction by the Committee the Agency shall:

(a) collect, analyse, evaluate and disseminate to Parties
relevant statistical and biological information with respect to
the living marine resources of the region and in particular the
highly migratory species;

(b) collect and disseminate to Parties relevant information
concerning management procedures, legislation and agreements
adopted by other countries both within and beyond the region;

(c) collect and disseminate to Parties relevant information on
prices, shipping, processing and marketing of fish and fish
products;

(d) provide, on request, to any Party technical advice and
information, assistance in the development of fisheries policies
and negotiations, and assistance in the issue of licences, the
collection of fees or in matters pertaining to surveillance and
enforcement;

(e) seek to establish working arrangements with relevant
regional and international organisations, particularly the South
Pacific Commission; and

(f) undertake such other functions as the Committee may decide.

Article VIII

Legal Status, Privileges and Immunities

1. The Agency shall have legal personality and in particular the
capacity to contract, to acquire and dispose of movable and
immovable property and to sue and be sued.

2. The Agency shall be immune from suit and other legal process
and its premises, archives and property shall be inviolable.

3. Subject to approval by the Committee the Agency shall
promptly conclude an agreement with the Government of Solomon
Islands providing for such privileges and immunities as may be
necessary for the proper discharge of the functions of the
Agency.

Article IX

Information

The Parties shall provide the Agency with available and
appropriate information including:

(a) catch and effort statistics in respect of fishing operations
in waters under their jurisdiction or conducted by vessels under
their jurisdiction;

(b) relevant laws, regulations and international agreements;

(c) relevant biological and statistical data; and

(d) action with respect to decisions taken by the Committee.

Article X

Signature, Accession, Entry into Force

1. This Convention shall be open for signature by members of the
South Pacific Forum.

2. This Convention is not subject to ratification and shall
enter into force 30 days following the eighth signature.
Thereafter it shall enter into force for any signing or acceding
state thirty days after signature or the receipt by the
depositary of an instrument of accession.

3. This Convention shall be deposited with the Government of
Solomon Islands (herein referred to as the depositary) who shall
be responsible for its registration with the United Nations.

4. States or territories admitted to membership of the Agency in
accordance with Article II(b) shall deposit an instrument of
accession with the depositary.

5. Reservations to this Convention shall not be permitted.

Article XI

Withdrawal and Amendment

1. Any Party may withdraw from this Convention by giving written
notice to the depositary. Withdrawal shall take effect one year
after receipt of such notice.

2. Any Party may propose amendments to the Convention for
consideration by the Committee. The text of any amendment shall
be adopted by a unanimous decision. The Committee may determine
the procedures for the entry into force of amendments to this
Convention.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorised
thereto by their respective Governments, have signed this
Convention

Opened for signature at Honiara this 10th day of July, 1979.

ANNEX

The following are the shares to be contributed by Parties to the
Convention towards the budget of the Agency in accordance with
Article VI(6)-

Australia1/3

Cook Islands

1/30

Fiji

1/30

Gilbert Islands

1/30

Nauru

1/30

New Zealand

1/3

Niue

1/30

Papua New Guinea

1/30

Solomon Islands

1/30

Tonga

1/30

Tuvalu

1/30

Western Samoa

1/30