FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF
COASTAL AND OCEANIC FISHERIES
IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS REGION
Project funded by
16 April 2010 - 3 March 2014
The fisheries resources of the Pacific ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries are central in efforts to improve the lives of their people. The oceanic resources provide around a quarter of the world’s tuna catch and support both small and large fishing enterprises; provide government revenue; and, in many countries, represent the main opportunity for economic development. Coastal fisheries contribute to food security and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people across the region. Both oceanic and coastal resources are at risk of overfishing however. In the oceanic fishery, a rapid growth in industrial fishing effort threatens two important commercial species of tuna. In coastal fisheries, food fish resources are over-exploited around major population centres, while certain invertebrate species harvested for export are severely depleted across much of the region. Well-informed management action is needed to halt and reverse these trends.
The Regional Strategy Paper and the Indicative Programme agreed between the Pacific ACP (P-ACP) countries and the European Community (EC) for the period 2008–2013 identifies Sustainable Management of Natural Resources as one of two focal areas for EDF10 cooperation. The Intervention Framework for this focal area targets assisting the region in developing the economic potential of its natural resources in a sustainable way through sound science on which to base management decisions, while looking at expanding the regions export sectors in natural resources and creating an enabling environment for the benefit of regional trade arrangements.
SciCOFish will complement the ongoing EDF-funded SciFish (Scientific support for the management of oceanic fisheries in the Pacific Islands region) Project, while following on from the Pacific Regional Oceanic and Coastal Fisheries Development Project (PROCFish) and Pacific Regional Coastal Fisheries Development Project (CoFish), which were focused on tuna and reef fishery assessment and monitoring, in fulfilling the vision of the Regional Strategy Paper and the RIP for Pacific ACP/EC cooperation in fisheries, and will broaden the growing pattern of cooperation between the Pacific ACP countries and the EC in fisheries generally.
The overall objective of the SciCOFish project is the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and oceanic fisheries resources in the P-ACP region. It addresses a key aspect of the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP), namely, the development of cost-effective solutions for the sustainable management of marine and land-based resources. It directly responds to the P-ACP leaders’ Vava’u Declaration and the recent 2008 Forum meeting in Niue, which called for comprehensive fisheries conservation measures, both in EEZs and on the high seas; and the sustainable and effective management of national coastal fisheries.
The SciCOFish purpose is to provide a reliable and improved scientific basis for management and decision making in oceanic and coastal fisheries. The project will provide the P-ACP countries with the means to develop efficient management measures, the skills to monitor their effectiveness, and some important tools to combat IUU fishing on the high seas. A ‘demand-driven’ approach to implementation will ensure that assistance is provided to those countries which are most likely to take up management advice.
Project results will be in two main areas: scientific support for oceanic fisheries management (Component 1) and monitoring and management of coastal fisheries (Component 2). These components will strengthen scientific understanding of oceanic and coastal systems, respectively, and will facilitate addressing cross-cutting issues such as ecosystem relationships and the impacts of climate change through linking results via databases. The oceanic activities will provide scientific support for new tuna management initiatives adopted by P-ACPs at a critical time for conservation of the stocks. In particular, intensive observer training and enhancement of national fishing activity databases will, in combination with the development of a monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) strategy under the proposed DevFish2 study, allow more effective identification and deterrence of IUU fishing activities. Furthermore, the proposed modelling studies respond to calls by P-ACP countries to develop tools and strategies to evaluate national impacts from management measures and mitigate the effects of climate change. The coastal activities will be focused, by means of initial stakeholder consultations, on projects combining an urgent resource management issue with a strong local capability to address the issue and maintain a long-term programme.
Pacific ACP governments, the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) will be provided with scientific data, modelling, and advice on oceanic fisheries to underpin their management decision making and strategic positioning. Project activities include:
1-1. Observer training and systems
1-2. Integrated tuna fisheries databases
1-3. Bioeconomic modelling and national advice
1-4. Ecosystem modelling of management and climate change
1-5. Validate key model parameters through tagging
Pacific ACP governments, private sector and communities will be provided with technical methods and training to monitor coastal fisheries, resulting in practical scientific advice to inform management decisions, and development of in-country capacity to evaluate their effectiveness. Project activities include:
2-1. Conduct stakeholder consultation
2-2. Develop local capacity to implement field monitoring protocols
2-3. Develop and implement secondary data collection protocols
2-4. Develop management advice
Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency
For more information, please contact Mike Batty, Director, SPC Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems.