Friday, February 28, 2014

Fiji's Tuna Industry - the Saga continues!

Foreign distant water fleets: reaping and pillaging the SoPac. Source

And I cite.
The number of vessels fishing for tuna continues to increase in the Pacific, with last year’s 297 fishing boats setting an all-time high. 
But 45 more purse seiners are now under construction in Asian shipyards, which will “cause sustainability problems in the fishery,” he said and raised “serious concerns about the increasing number of vessels fishing in the region.

“What we now see from the 2012 fishing data is more boats in the fishery, higher overall catches, smaller fish sizes and the lowest ever levels of fisheries biomass for these tuna stocks.”

Marshall Islands fisheries Director Glen Joseph said as bad as it sounds, the situation is worse. “It’s not just bigeye tuna raising concern,” he said. “Swordfish catches are raising a red flag.”
And yellowfin tuna is reported by scientists to be near its maximum sustainable yield. “If distant water fishing nations support sustainability of the resource, then they need to commit to a 30 percent reduction in catches,” Joseph said. “It’s not a question of should they do it or not. They have to do it or face the consequences.”
And here's another one.
Many blame the foreign tuna fishing fleets with their large-scale operations that buy the rights to fish in Western and Central pacific fisheries, and whose numbers are steadily increasing.
In the past decade, China's fishing fleet has ballooned with hundreds of new heavily state-subsidised boats now operating in the southern Albacore tuna fishery.
Greenpeace's Nathaniel Pelle says in return the Pacific nations are paid access fees but often their slice of the estimated $7 billion a year Pacific tuna industry is less than 10 per cent.

Rosetti Imo, a bio-economist with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, says the loss of the local tuna industry would be a huge economic blow for the region.
"In terms of value to the Pacific islands and how our economies rely on this resource its very, very valuable and most of our small economies rely on this resource absolutely", he said.

Fisheries management experts say one solution might be withdrawing or cutting back foreign access to their exclusive economic zones.
Greenpeace's Nathaniel Pelle agrees: “In the long term there is no benefit of having this system of reliance on selling access to foreign vessels, the economic benefit is going to come from having a stable fishing population.” 
Looks like everybody knows what needs to be done.
Leadership anybody?  

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