South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency Convention (1979)


Done at Honiara on 10 July 1979


Entered into force 9 August 1979




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



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;




Article I




1. There is hereby established a South Pacific Forum Fisheries



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



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


Article II




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



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




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



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



(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



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



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



(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



(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



Article IX




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



IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorised

thereto by their respective Governments, have signed this



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




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)-




Cook Islands








Gilbert Islands








New Zealand








Papua New Guinea




Solomon Islands












Western Samoa




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