REGULATIONS CURRENTLY APPLICABLE IN THE PARK
Since the Coral sea natural park was created in April 2014, measures have been taken concerning the entire maritime space covered by the natural park. Current regulations are as follows :
- Shark, turtle and whale fishing are prohibited (creation of a whale sanctuary),
- The number of ships is limited by the Maritime Resources Commission,
- Monitoring of ships through fishing forms provided by ship-owners and satellites but also onboard personnel tasked with observing crew members, gathering information on catches, evaluating the state of pelagic ecosystems and estimating the stocks of fish for the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission. They are referred to as onboard observers,
- The use of fishing tools referred to as « towed gear » ( trawls, seines, dredges, trolling lines) is strictly prohibited
- Granting and renewal of fishing licenses under certain conditions only.
DEEP-SEA FISHING MONITORING IN THE PARK
Deep-sea fishing is closely monitored in New Caledonia by a network of scientific and institutional partners. After a few difficult years, the deep-sea fishing industry has taken measures to try to become profitable thanks to the joint involvement of the aforementioned network and professionals from the industry.
Because the market remains narrow, professionals have been trying to find new exportation markets while diversifying local supplies. Despite its fragile balance, deep-sea fishing can be considered as an example of a sector on the road to success.
Fishing licenses are granted by the Government of New Caledonia. It should be noted that they are restricted to local vessels, the longliners. Once a vessel holds a fishing license in the Coral sea natural park, it must respect certain regulations :
- All fishing campaigns are monitored in real time via satellite since 2005
- Throughout the campaign, fishing forms documenting catches are filled out
- Observers are onboard fishing-vesselse
A MONITORED ACTIVITY
Vessels authorized to fish in New Caledonia’s maritime space are subjected to satellite monitoring (VMS : Vessel Monitoring System). This system put in place in early 2005 allows the real time monitoring of vessel movements when they are in the Natural Park of the Coral Sea. Satellite complements other monitoring tools, notably fishing forms, by pointing out the gaps in statistics provided by ship-owners.
Every ship-owner whose vessel holds a license and is authorized to fish must, for each campaign, provide statistics regarding its activity. These information (information on the ship, fishing effort, catches) are detailed on fishing forms whose format has been determined by the administration in charge. As far as the form format used for tuna fishing is concerned, it is developed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and it is used by member countries. Why use a set format for this form ? So that the information provided can be used to compile statistics for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.
REGULATION APPLICABLE AT ENTRECASTEAUX
Before the creation of the Coral sea natural park, measures had already been put in place to protect a part of New Caledonia’s maritime zone, notably the d’Entrecasteaux atolls, located North of New Caledonia.
The measures concerning the d’Entrecasteaux protected area were put in place in July 2008, following its inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Therefore, Fabre Island, Surprise Island and Huon Island are natural reserves. It is recommended to use the access trails to be able to discover these atolls without disturbing the local fauna. Leleizour Island and the vegetated part of Surprise Island have been declared wilderness areas, and are therefore closed to the public. Activities in the entire d’Entrecasteaux protected area are strictly regulated:
- Professional fishing is prohibited
- Commercial access is limited to approved nautical tourist transport companies
- Boaters access subject to prior declaration
- Scientists access subject to authorization