20th Regular Session of the Scientific Committee: Full Annotated Agenda

  • 1. Opening of the meeting

    The meeting will open at 08:30 AM on Wednesday, 14 August 2024.

    • 1.1 Welcome address

      The Chair will welcome delegations of WCPFC Members, Cooperating Non-members, participating Territories (CCMs), and Observers to the Twentieth Regular Session of the Scientific Committee (SC20).

      A senior official from the Philippines, the Commission Chair, the Executive Director, and the SC Chair will be invited to deliver an opening address.

    • 1.2 Meeting arrangements

      The Chair will outline procedural matters, including the meeting schedule, administrative arrangements, and the list of Theme Convenors.


      Emily Crigler: emily.crigler@noaa.gov

      Vice Chair


      ST Theme

      Valerie Post: valerie.post@noaa.gov 

      SA Theme

      Hidetada Kiyofuji: kiyofuji_hidetada20@fra.go.jp

      Berry Muller: bmuller@mimra.com 

      Michelle Sculley: michelle.sculley@noaa.gov 

      MI Theme

      Emily Crigler: emily.crigler@noaa.gov

      (Acting convenor for Laura Tremblay-Boyer: laura.tremblay-boyer@csiro.au)

      EB Theme

      Yonat Swimmer: yonat.swimmer@noaa.gov 

      Leyla Knittweis: leyla.knittweis@mpi.govt.nz

      Deadlines for submitting meeting papers

      1. Annual Report – Part 1

      2. Titles and abstracts 

        • Due by 10 July 2024 to the Secretariat, SC Chair, and relevant Convenors

      3. Full papers 

        • Due by 27 July 2024 to the Secretariat, SC Chair, and relevant Convenors 

    • 1.3 Issues arising from the Commission

      SC20 will be briefed on issues arising from the previous meetings of the Commission and the Scientific Committee.

    • 1.4 Adoption of the agenda

      The Provisional Agenda for SC20 was posted on 16 May 2024 following Rule 1 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure. Any Member of the Commission, the Chair, or the Executive Director may, at least 30 days before the opening of the Regular Session, request the inclusion of supplementary items in the Provisional Agenda. A request for the inclusion of a supplementary item in the Provisional Agenda shall be accompanied by a written explanation of the proposed supplementary item, which will be communicated to all CCMs and observers at least 20 days before the opening of the Session.

      Other matters to be discussed under Agenda Item 12 may be proposed here.

    • 1.5 Reporting arrangements

      In accordance with Rule 33 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, the text of all decisions adopted by the SC20 will be distributed to all members, territories, and observers within seven working days following the adoption of such decision.

      SC20 will develop a DRAFT Summary Report, which will be adopted intersessionally with an Executive Summary. The Executive Summary will include a synopsis of stock status and management advice and implications, research plans, findings or conclusions on the stock status, reports, and recommendations as directed by the Commission or at the initiative of the SC (Paragraph 2, Article 12 of the Convention).

      The WCPFC Secretariat will hire a lead rapporteur to produce a DRAFT Summary Report, and the Theme Convenors will arrange their own support rapporteurs as needed.

    • 1.6 Intersessional activities of the Scientific Committee

      The Chair, with support from the Secretariat, will report on the SC's intersessional activities.

  • 2. Review of Fisheries
    • 2.1 Overview of Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) fisheries

      The Pacific Community – Oceanic Fisheries Programme (SPC-OFP) and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) will present an overview of the WCPO key fisheries. 

      As SC14 (paragraph 119) recommended, analyses and projections of economic conditions in WCPO fisheries will be presented under this Agenda. SC20 will be invited to provide supplementary information, questions, and comments.

    • 2.2 Overview of the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) fisheries

      The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) will present an overview of the fisheries for highly migratory species in the EPO region. SC20 will be invited to provide supplementary information, questions, and comments.

    • 2.3 Annual Report – Part 1 from Members, Cooperating Non-Members, and Participating Territories

      All CCMs shall submit Part 1 of the Annual Report (the amended template is available at SC-1 under Guidelines on the WCPFC website) to the Secretariat (BOTH sungkwon.soh@wcpfc.int and contact.ar@wcpfc.int) by 7 July 2024. 

      The Submitted Part 1 reports are posted on the SC20 website. All annual reports are assumed to have been read before the meeting. This agenda item is an opportunity for questions and clarifications ONLY concerning these reports.

    • 2.4 Reports from regional fisheries bodies and other organizations

      The deadline is 27 July 2024 for submitting meeting documents from regional fisheries bodies and other intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations to the Secretariat (sungkwon.soh@wcpfc.int). Regional fisheries bodies and other intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations observing SC20 may make a brief presentation (3 minutes) on key issues relevant to the work of the SC. Such presentations must be arranged with the Chair and the Secretariat by sending a 1-2 paragraph summary of the presentation to the Secretariat by 27 July 2024. 

  • 3. Data and Statistics Theme
  • 4. Stock Assessment Theme
  • 5. Management Issues Theme
    • 5.1 Development of the WCPFC harvest strategy framework for key tuna species

      SC20 will note the following key updates to the Indicative Workplan for the Adoption of Harvest Strategies under CMM-2022-03 (see Attachment 4, WCPFC20 Summary Record): 

      • The plan was extended for an additional year to 2027;

      • SC20 will agree on the operating models for the South Pacific albacore tuna MSE and provide advice to inform the review of the South Pacific albacore tuna Target Reference Point;

      • SC20 will provide advice on the monitoring strategy for skipjack tuna; and

      • SC agreement on operating models for bigeye and yellowfin tuna has been rescheduled for 2025.

      In 2024, the Commission is scheduled to adopt a management procedure for South Pacific albacore and the monitoring strategy for skipjack tuna, and agree on TRPs for bigeye and yellowfin tuna.

      • 5.1.1 Skipjack tuna
        • Skipjack tuna management procedure

          Sufficient data were available to run the MP for skipjack tuna in 2023. However, it was noted that pole and line fishing efforts in tropical regions continue to decline, which presents a potential problem for the future running of the MP. Therefore, as recommended by SC19, a re-evaluation of the estimation method (which may require a re-evaluation of the modeling framework) was recommended as a high priority before the next implementation of the MP for skipjack tuna in 2026. SC20 will review the planned approach to investigate this.

        • Monitoring strategy for skipjack tuna

          The Commission noted a need for intersessional work, led by the SC and TCC Chairs, to facilitate the development of a monitoring strategy by SSP for adoption at WCPFC21, using the information in Attachment B of WCPFC20-2023-14 as a reference. SC20 will review any updates on the monitoring strategies and provide further inputs and advice as needed.

      • 5.1.2 South Pacific albacore tuna
        • Target reference points

          SC20 will note that WCPFC20 agreed on an interim TRP for SP albacore as 0.96SB2017- 2019/SBF=0. This TRP will be reviewed at WCPFC21 following the 2024 stock assessment and further development of candidate management procedures. SC20 will provide advice to the Commission on the review of the interim TRP.

          SC20 will review the results of the following task (see paragraph 242, WCPFC20 Summary Record) and provide advice to the Commission:

          242.      The Commission tasked the SSP to undertake:

          • evaluation of a range of alternative candidate South Pacific albacore target reference points between SB/SBF=0 0.42-0.56 (long-term average SB/SBF=0 (WCPF-CA), or preferably equivalent levels defined in terms of reference period) that will be considered in the context of the review of the adopted iTRP.


        • South Pacific albacore operating models

          Following SC19's advice, the reference set of the operating models was further developed to allow for the continued progress and evaluation of candidate management procedures. SC20 will consider formally adopting the reference set of operating models for management strategy evaluation, noting the potential for other changes in light of the 2024 South Pacific albacore stock assessment.

        • South Pacific albacore management procedure

          SC20 will review relevant papers and provide advice for the adoption of a management procedure noting the following specific task from the Commission (see paragraph 242, WCPFC20 Summary Record):

          242.      The Commission tasked the SSP to undertake:

          • evaluations of some selected candidate management procedures for South Pacific albacore where the output of the harvest control rule is total allowable effort and alternatively where the output of the same or similar harvest control rule is total allowable catch.
        • Monitoring strategy for South Pacific albacore

          SC20 will review and advise on relevant elements to be considered by TCC and the Commission for the monitoring strategy of candidate management procedures for South Pacific albacore.

        • Updates on South Pacific albacore roadmap IWG

          The IWG Chair will provide a brief on the outcomes of the online IWG meeting held on 31 July 2024. SC20 will review and respond to any requests from the IWG.

      • 5.1.3 Mixed fishery MSE framework
      • 5.1.4 Progress of the WCPFC Harvest Strategy Work Plan

        Considering the progress of developing the harvest strategy framework along with the work plan, SC20 will advise the Commission for further updates of the harvest strategy work plan as needed.

    • 5.2 Review of the effectiveness of CMM 2023-01

      According to Paragraph 52 of CMM 2023-01 (CMM for bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack tuna in the WCPO), SC20 will review the effectiveness of various provisions and provide the Commission with advice as needed

  • 6. Ecosystem and Bycatch Mitigation Theme
    • 6.1 Ecosystem and Climate Indicators
      • 6.1.1 Ecosystem and Climate Indicator Report Card

        SC20 will review the outcomes of an Expert Workshop on methodology for developing and testing candidate indicators (Project 121), various indicators in the updated Ecosystem and Climate Indicator Report Card, available data on climate change impacts on stocks and ecosystems, and the potential effects of climate change on related fishing activities, and any other related issues. 


      • 6.1.2 Research proposal

        SC20 will consider any further proposed research on climate change issues.

        SC20 will provide input to the Commission's DRAFT Climate Change Workplan[1]

        SC20 will also review a DRAFT WCPFC Climate Change Workplan and a preliminary assessment of selected CMMs for their vulnerability to climate change impacts and consider the need for further work. SC20 will also consider additional climate change-related tasks[2] and cooperation with other RFMOs on activities related to climate change (see paragraph 223, WCPFC20 Summary Record), and provide  feedback to inform future work.

        [1] Intersessional work is led by co-Chairs from the US and RMI.

        [2] i. how to capture potential effects of climate change on WCPFC fisheries and fish stocks; ii. mechanisms to test the robustness of existing and candidate management procedures under plausible climate change scenarios within the MSE framework. 


    • 6.2 FAD impacts
      • 6.2.1 Research on non-entangling and biodegradable FADs

        SC20 will review various research outputs related to non-entangling and biodegradable FADs, including the progress of Project 110 (Non-entangling and biodegradable FAD trials in the WCPO) funded by the EU, US, and ISSF, which will be completed in December 2025. Project 110a is to enhance Project 110 by deploying additional non-entangling and biodegradable FADs. SC20 will review and provide comments on the progress of Project 110 and 110a.

      • 6.2.2 Updates on FAD Management Options IWG

        WCPFC20 tasked the FADMO-IWG with considering i) ways to implement FAD recovery programs and ii) developing a FAD logbook for vessel operators (see paragraphs 384-385, WCPFC20 Summary Record): 

        384.   The Commission further tasks the FADMO-IWG to consider ways to implement FAD recovery programs/strategies, including economic aspects and standards required for programs to be effective, to be a standing agenda item for the FADMO-IWG in 2024. 

        385.   In the development of 2024-2026 FADMO-IWG Workplan, the FADMO-IWG shall incorporate the following: 

        1. Provide advice to WCPFC23 on the implementation of stepwise introduction of bio-degradable dFADs; 

        2. Provide advice to WCPFC23 on the effectiveness of the limit on the number of dFADs deployed as set in paragraph [21] of the CMM 2023-01 and; 

        3. To develop a FAD logbook for vessel operators and to review the IWG workplan accordingly to action recent developments.

        The Commission also tasked the FADMO-IWG to consider requirements for the transmission of satellite buoy data from drifting FADs in 2024 to promote effective and sustainable FAD management in the WCPFC (refer to paragraph 550, WCPFC20 Summary Record).

        SC20 will review the progress of the FADMO-IWG work and provide feedback to facilitate the IWG's progress.

    • 6.3 Bycatch management
    • 6.4 Sharks
      • 6.4.1 Estimating the impact of fishing on sharks (Project 116)

        As requested in paragraph 28 of CMM 2022-04[1], SC20 will review estimates of shark mortalities and risks associated with interactions with WCPFC fisheries, including the impact of WCPFC-managed fisheries on oceanic whitetip shark and silky shark inside and outside the area between 20ºN and 20ºS, and provide recommendations on mitigation methods as needed to the Commission.

        [1] 28.       In 2024, and commencing periodically thereafter, the SC shall review the impact of fishing gear on sharks that are not retained, including oceanic whitetip shark and silky shark, inside and outside of the area between 20 N and 20 S, and provide advice on potential mitigation measures that would benefit such shark species.

      • 6.4.2 Review of Shark Research Plan 2021-2030

        As agreed at SC19, SC20 will review the results of ISG-Sharks and provide recommendations or any amendments on the Shark Research Plan 2021-2030.

    • 6.5 Seabirds
      • 6.5.1 Review of seabird research

        SC20 will review any seabird research if available and provide recommendations as needed to the Commission. 

      • 6.5.2 Review of CMM on seabirds (CMM 2018-03)

        As agreed at WCPFC20, New Zealand organized two informal online intersessional meetings on 20 February and 7 May 2024 to review CMM 2018-03 (CMM to mitigate the impact of fishing for highly migratory fish stocks on seabirds). SC20 will review recommendations for a revision of CMM 2018-03 based on information from these two informal intersessional meetings, and relevant information and working papers, and provide recommendations to the Commission.

    • 6.6 Sea turtles
      • 6.6.1 Review of sea turtle research

        Noting the Sea Turtle Data Collection and Research Programme adopted at WCPFC3 in 2006, SC20 will review any new information from sea turtle mitigation research and provide recommendations as needed to the Commission. 

      • 6.6.2 Review of Conservation and Management of Sea Turtles (CMM 2018-04)

        The Commission at WCPFC20 noted the need to develop best practices and guidelines to minimize the impact of FADs on sea turtles to inform CCMs of potential impacts, including detailed information on fully non-entangling FADs and ideas related to a “FAD WATCH” programme. SC20 will review any additional or new mitigation measures or draft guidelines to minimize the impact of FADs on sea turtles and provide findings and recommendations as appropriate to the Commission. 

    • 6.7 Cetaceans

      SC20 will review any research on mitigating impacts on cetacean stocks from tuna fishery activities and provide recommendations to the Commission as appropriate. 


    • 6.8 Deep-sea mining

      In response to concerns raised by an Observer delegation at WCPFC20 on the potential impacts of deep-sea mining on tuna fisheries, the Secretariat contacted the International Seabed Authority to gather information on the ISA’s activities that overlap with the WCPFC Convention Area. 

      The IATTC’s 1st Working Group on Ecosystem and Bycatch held in May 2023 provided the following three recommendations to the Scientific Advisory Committee, which were endorsed by the 14th SAC meeting and recommended to the Commission. Also refer to IATTC brief: Potential Interactions between Deep-Sea Mining and Tuna Fisheries:

      • Be attentive to, and monitor the development of mining in the international seabed area in terms of its potential effects on the ocean ecosystem and populations of tuna and tuna-like species; 

      • Participate, as appropriate, in the process of discussions on the subject within the framework of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), as an observer and/or through appropriate collaborative mechanisms; 

      • Collaborate, in a manner consistent with its mandate, work program, and the financial, human, and material resources at its disposal, in research on the potential effects of mining in the international seabed area among others on the ocean ecosystem and populations of tuna and tuna-like species.

      As this is a new issue, SC20 will consider issues related to deep-sea mining impacts on WCPFC fisheries and provide any advice as needed to the Commission.

  • 7. Other Research Projects
    • 7.1 Pacific Marine Specimen Bank (Project 35b)

      SC20 will review the outcomes of the 6th Steering Committee meeting, noting two specific issues raised by the Committee, and provide recommendations to the Commission or other subsidiary bodies. 

    • 7.2 Pacific Tuna Tagging Project (Project 42)

      SC20 will review the progress of the Pacific Tuna Tagging Project (Project 42) and the results of its 16th PTTP Steering Committee Meeting. SC20 will provide recommendations to the Commission for the continuity of the project.

    • 7.3 West Pacific East Asia Project

      SC20 will note the completion of the New Zealand-funded WPEA Improved Tuna Monitoring Project (WPEA-ITM) as of June 30, 2024. SC20 will also be introduced to the next phase of the project that commenced on July 1, 2024: WPEA Sustainable Pacific Fisheries Activity (WPEA-SPF), also funded by New Zealand. This phase will build on the work of the WPEA-ITM over the next three years. SC20 will review the draft final report from WPEA-ITM, and provide comments and recommendations on the planned activities for WPEA-SPF.

    • 7.4 Japan Trust Fund activities

      SC20 will receive the outcomes of the JTF Steering Committee meeting and provide advice as needed.

    • 7.5 Other Projects

      SC20 may consider any other projects funded through voluntary contributions of WCPFC CCMs.

  • 8. Cooperation with other organizations

    SC20 will review the status of cooperation with other organizations and, if necessary, provide recommendations for the Commission’s consideration. 

  • 9. Special requirements of developing states and participating territories

    SC20 will consider intersessional activities to build capacity in the science of developing States and participating territories, including those supported by the Commission’s Special Requirements Fund. 

  • 10. Future work program and budget
    • 10.1 Development of the 2025 work programme and budget, and projection of 2026-2027 provisional work program and indicative budget

      SC20 will develop the 2025 SC work program and budget and provisional work program and indicative budget for 2026-2027 for the Commission’s consideration and endorsement. All project proposers will submit their proposals with detailed terms of reference, including objectives, rationale, assumptions, scope of work, data requirements (public or non-public domain data), time frame, budget, and references for SC’s review and ranking priorities. 

      SC20 will note a recommendation from the Finance and Administration Committee to the Commission (Para 71, FAC9 Summary Report) that “WCPFC12 task SC with carefully considering proposed scientific projects in the context of the indicative budget agreed for the coming year.

  • 11. Administrative matters
    • 11.1 Future operation of the Scientific Committee

      SC20 will consider proposals, if any, for the efficient operation of the Scientific Committee, including streamlining the agenda, rapporteuring, process of theme sessions, and other related aspects. 

      The Commission at WCPFC20 requested that the Secretariat, SC Chair, SC Vice-Chair, SC Convenors, TCC Chair, and TCC Vice-Chair further explore and consider options discussed at SC19 and TCC19 relating to addressing time challenges in the SC review of WCPFC stock assessment inputs[1]and report the intersessional discussions to WCPFC21 for its consideration. SC20 will review the progress of the intersessional discussions and provide advice to the Commission as needed.

      [1] SC19-SA-WP-14 (Options to address time challenges in the SC review of WCPFC stock assessment inputs

    • 11.2 Election of Officers

      SC20 will recommend a Scientific Committee Vice-Chair to the Commission for consideration at WCPFC21. The SC Vice-Chair shall hold office for two years and shall be eligible for re-election. 

    • 11.3 Next meeting

      Members are invited to confirm the dates and venue for SC21 in 2025 and to propose dates and venue for SC22 in 2026.

  • 12. Other matters

    SC20 will consider any other issues that are raised under Agenda Item 1.4.

  • 13. Adoption of the summary report of the twentieth regular session of the Scientific Committee

    SC20 will adopt all recommendations of the Scientific Committee, and the SC20 Summary Report will be adopted intersessionally after SC20. 

  • 14. Close of meeting

    The meeting will close at 17:00 on Wednesday, 21 August 2024.