Priority species

    Fisheries resources covered by the Convention include all fish, mollusks, crustaceans and other marine species with some exceptions. Eight of them are recognized as priority species:

    • North Pacific armorhead Pentaceros wheeleri,
    • Splendid alfonsino Beryx splendens,
    • Pacific saury Cololabis saira,
    • Neon flying squid Ommastrephes bartramii,
    • Japanese flying squid Todarodes pacificus,
    • Chub mackerel Scomber japonicus,
    • Blue (spotted) mackerel Scomber australasicus,
    • Japanese sardine Sardinops melanostictus.


    North Pacific armorhead Pentaceros wheeleri

    Distribution: North Pacific – Gulf of Alaska to North Pacific Ocean off central California and south of Japan, with center of abundance at the seamounts of the southern Emperor-northern Hawaiian Ridge within the Convention area.

    Catch trend: North Pacific armorhead catches by Japan, Korea and Russia greatly changed from year to year. In 2002-2015, they varied from less than 1 thousand (th.) ton to 25 th. tons. Catches were at the lowest level in 2002-2003 (0.4 th. t) and increased in 2004-2012 (1-25 th. t). From 2013 to 2015, catches tended to decrease.

    Splendid alfonsino Beryx splendens

    Distribution: Widely distributed throughout the world in the tropical and temperate waters at the depths from 25 to more than 1300m, widespread in the western and central North Pacific, including the NPFC Convention area.

    Catch trend: Splendid alfonsino catches by Japan, Korea and Russia varied from 0.8 to 5.6 th. tons in 2002-2015. They were at relatively high level in 2005-2007 (3.5-5.6 th. t), decreased by 2010 (1.1-1.6 th. t) and tended to rise in 2011 and later (up to 3.3 th. t).

    Pacific saury Cololabis saira

    Distribution: North Pacific – Korea and Japan eastward to Gulf of Alaska and southward to Mexico, including the NPFC Convention area. Highly migratory species.

    Catch trend: Generally, Pacific saury catches (China+Japan+Korea+Russia+Chinese Taipei) tended to increase from 1990s to 2000s, with the lowest value in 1998 and 1999 (158-160 th. t) and the highest one in 2008 (607 th. t) and 2014 (621 th. t). In 2015, catch decreased and was the lowest for the last 13 years (about 350 th. tons).

    Neon flying squid Ommastrephes bartramii

    Distribution: Cosmopolitan in subtropical and temperate waters. Distributed widely across the North Pacific.

    Catch trend: In the North Pacific, catches (China+Japan+Russia+Chinese Taipei) tended to decrease in 1990s and reached the lowest level in the early 2000s (10 th. tons). In 2005-2008, catches sharply rose (124-131 th. t) and then tended to decrease.

    Japanese flying squid Todarodes pacificus

    Distribution: Western Pacific: 20° N to 60° N, excluding the Bering Sea. Northern and eastern Pacific: Japan north and east to Canada. Inhabit the Convention area.

    Catch trend: In 2013-2015, total catches by China and Russia varied from 6 to 13 th. tons.

    Chub mackerel Scomber japonicus

    Distribution: Widespread in the Indo-Pacific. North Pacific: widely distributed, usually found in the northwestern, southeastern, and northeastern Pacific. In the eastern Pacific, it can be found from central Mexico to southeastern Alaska. Inhabit the Convention area.

    Catch trend: Annual catches by Japan and Russia were at high level (about 1000 th. tons) in the 1970s, decreased rapidly in the 1980s, and recorded the lowest value (24 th. tons) in 1991. In 1990-2000s, catches remained at relatively low level with an increasing trend in 2010s. Annual catches of chub mackerel were 144 th. tons in 2013 and 260 th. tons in 2014.

    Blue (spotted) mackerel Scomber australasicus

    Distribution: Widespread in the Indo-West Pacific. Pacific Ocean: widely distributed from Japan, south to Australia and New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: Hawaii and off Mexico. Inhabit the Convention area.

    Catch trend: Annual catches of North Pacific stock were relatively low in the 1980s and early 1990s (about 20-120 th. tons). After 1990s, catches increased and remained at relatively high levels. Annual catches of blue mackerel were 126 th. tons in 2013 and 119 th. tons in 2014.

    Japanese sardine Sardinops melanostictus

    Distribution: Widespread in the North Pacific including central Pacific, Japan Sea and the southern areas of the Okhotsk Sea and Bering Sea during periods of high abundance.

    Catch trend: Sardine catches were very high in the 1980s (about 2-5 mln tons), but decreased markedly in the early 1990s, and have remained low since then. In the mid-2000s - 2010s, sardine catches tended to increase (from less than 100 to about 300 th. tons).