This report examines more than ten years of collected data on more than 10,000 pollution incidents by purse seine vessels and more than 200 pollution incidents by longline vessels within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of 25 Pacific countries and territories, and in international waters. The report finds that 71% of the reported purse seine pollution incidents related to Waste Dumped Overboard; 16% to Oil Spillages and Leakages; and 13% to Abandoned, Lost, or Dumped Fishing Gear. When the category “Waste Dumped” was examined further, Plastics were found to make up the largest portion of total purse seine pollution incidents (37%). Only 4% of the incidents occurred in International Waters, while the rest occurred in the EEZs of Papua New Guinea (44%), Kiribati (13%), the Federated States of Micronesia (12%), Solomon Islands (7%), Marshall Islands (6%), Nauru (6%), and 19 other countries and territories in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
While based on limited data, the report finds evidence that pollution from fishing vessels, particularly purse seine vessels, in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean is a serious problem and highlights the need for three initiatives: 1) increased monitoring, reporting, and enforcement of pollution violations by all types of fishing vessels, especially longliners, which currently have a very low (5%) mandatory observer coverage; 2) a regional outreach and compliance assistance programme on marine pollution prevention for fishing vessel crews, business operators and managers; and 3) improvements in Pacific port waste reception facilities to enable them to receive fishing vessel wastes on shore.