Super Typhoon Yutu affected the existing fish stock of the CNMI toward the end of 2018 and into 2019, as evidenced by the respective 19% and 5% decrease in revenue in both pelagic and bottomfish (commercial and non-commercial) fishing.
This finding is part of the Western Pacific Region 2018 Status of the Fisheries report by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, which covered the status of pelagic, bottomfish, and coral reef fish ecosystems in CNMI.
The report is a result of boat-based surveys and interviews conducted both in the first, and second half of the year.
The report also talked about management actions the National Marine Fisheries Service has taken for CNMI fisheries since the April 2018 Joint FEP Plan Team meeting.
These include the five-year extension of moratorium on harvest of gold corals in the U.S. Pacific Islands through June 30, 2023, to prevent overfishing and to stimulate research on gold corals; and, the reclassification of certain management unit species in the Pacific Islands as ecosystem component species.
This rule, which took effect last March 11, is done to prioritize conservation and management efforts and to improve efficiency of fishery management in the region.
The Western Pacific Region Status of the Fisheries 2018 report was published by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council to provide data and trends about last year’s fishery participation, catch rates, landings, and other fishery performance factors.
The report also covers ecological components that may impact fishery outcomes such as protected species interactions, climate and oceanographic conditions and socioeconomic factors.
The report is a collaboration among the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service-Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center, Pacific Islands Regional Office, Division of Aquatic Resources (Hawaii), Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (American Samoa), Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (Guam), and the Division of Fish and Wildlife (CNMI).