International Management

In its management of highly migratory species, the United States participates in several international organizations including the United States - Canada Albacore Treaty, the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program, and is a member of various Regional Fishery Management Organizations. United States participation in these forums and agreements supports  international cooperation for the conservation and management of highly migratory species on the high seas. NOAA Fisheries West Coast Highly Migratory Species Program provides policy advice and technical and administrative support for international fisheries agreements and related issues in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

United States participation in Regional Fishery Management Organizations 

Regional Fishery Management Organizations( RFMOs) are established by treaties with countries that have fishing interests in particular ocean regions. These organizations adopt living marine resource conservation and management measures through consensus on resolutions. These measures are binding for their members. The United States is a Member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which is responsible for the conservation and management of fisheries for tunas and other species taken by tuna-fishing vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean  (generally east of the 150° W meridian). The United States is also a Member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which plays a parallel role in the western and central Pacific Ocean (generally west of the 150° W meridian).

The Inter- American Tropical Tuna Commission

The IATTC was established under the 1949 Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-Tropical Tuna Commission, to manage tuna and tuna-like species including yellowfin, skipjack, Pacific bluefin,and North Pacific albacore tunas in the IATTC Convention Area. In 2003, the Antigua Convention was adopted to strengthen and replace the 1949 Convention and became effective in 2010. The IATTC assesses the status of tuna, billfish, and shark stocks in the eastern Pacific Ocean to determine appropriate catch limits and other measures to prevent overexploitation of these stocks. Summaries of stock assessments are provided in Fishery Status Reports. The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) also conducts stock assessments for some species managed by the IATTC, including bluefin tuna and North Pacific albacore.

Current participation in the Inter- American Tropical Tuna Commission

Members participating in the IATTC: Belize, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, The European Union, France, Guatemala, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Chinese Taipei, United States, Vanuatu, and Venezuela.

Cooperating Non-Members include: Bolivia, Honduras, Indonesia, and the Cook Islands

NOAA Fisheries involvement in the Inter- American Tropical Tuna Commission

The West Coast Highly Migratory Species Program staffs the United States Delegations to the IATTC. The Delegation includes general advisory committee members, scientific advisory subcommittee members, and four presidentially appointed U.S. Commissioners. It advises the Department of State representative, who assists in negotiating international agreements. The Highly Migratory Species Program carries out rulemaking for the legally binding resolutions  that the IATTC adopts by drafting regulations for U.S. fisheries operating in the IATTC Convention Area under the Tuna Conventions Act. The Highly Migratory Species Program regularly engages with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, and Pacific Islands Regional Office to coordinate IATTC data reporting requirements for the U.S. fleet fishing in the eastern Pacific Ocean.