Photo: 10th Heads of Fisheries meeting in Noumea

Pacific Island countries and territories at the 10th Heads of Fisheries meeting have reaffirmed the increased priority for coastal fisheries in the region, including the need for improved monitoring, control and surveillance of coastal marine resources.

In the 54 key statements adopted in the outcomes document at the high-level meeting at the Pacific Community (SPC) Headquarters in New Caledonia, meeting participants called for support on the development of legislation, policies and regulations to improve the sustainable management of coastal fisheries resources.  Monitoring, and surveillance at the local and national levels was also a key common interest.

To support monitoring and surveillance, participants considered new advances in improving finfish identification in the region, including the development of the Identification guide to the common coastal finfish species of the Pacific Islands region and a newly released mobile device application ‘PacFishID’.

Participants also called for SPC’s Coastal Fisheries Programme to further pursue development and innovation in areas such as low-cost fish aggregating devices (FAD) development, data collection and e-recording for small-scale fisheries.

Similarly for oceanic fisheries, support for ongoing work in electronic data monitoring and reporting continues, with common interests in the development of mobile technologies, and support for on-site implementation and training.

Participants called for SPC’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme’s tagging work and research to be extended to non-tuna species where feasible.

The four-day meeting acknowledged SPC’s development of draft indicators for progress reporting against outcomes under the New Song for Coastal Fisheries strategy. The strategy aims to achieve sustainable inshore fisheries, through community-based approaches supporting food security, long-term economic, social and ecological benefits to Pacific Island communities.

The meeting endorsed a proposal by SPC to establish a regional coastal fisheries working group to implement the Pacific Island Forum Leaders directive for SPC to lead regional efforts to improve coastal fisheries management.

The meeting also encouraged including other SPC Divisions involved in cross-cutting work in the fisheries sector, including climate change and applied geoscience.

“I cannot stress the importance of our meeting this week. We are guardians of our resources here, and we owe it to our children, our future to work together for the betterment of our region, not only our countries, but our region and our resources,” 10th Heads of Fisheries Chair, Luisa Naseri-Sale said.

SPC is the main provider of scientific information for the management of tuna stocks in Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). Sixty percent of global tuna is caught in the WCPO, equivalent to 2.5 million tonnes, valued at US$5billion creating over 22,000 jobs in the tuna industry.

The biennial Heads of Fisheries meeting provides strategic guidance to SPC’s Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries programmes under the organisation’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division.

SPC’s FAME Division is tasked with providing technical assistance to SPC’s 22 member countries and territories to help inform decisions on the management and development of their aquatic resources, and build the capacity needed to implement these decisions.

Ninety delegates from 27 Pacific Island countries and territories attended the 10th Heads of Fisheries meeting which concluded on Friday 17 March.

More information about the 10th Heads of Fisheries can be found online.

Media contact:
Sandra Kailahi, SPC Communications and Public Information, [email protected] or +687 546 952

About us:
SPC is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting sustainable development since 1947. It is an intergovernmental development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members.