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USING fishing fleets to strengthen data collection and better understand the region’s
By Vishaal Kumar
This was highlighted by the Senior Director, Pacific Tuna Fisheries at Conservation International, Johann Bell during a panel discussion on setting a vision for the decade at the SPC Workshop on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 at Nouméa in New Caledonia on Tuesday.
Dr Bell said ocean science was expensive and they were trying to talk to fishing fleets about
assisting in the process of understanding the ocean in a better way. "We have done a lot of good science on the ocean but there is so much more we need to know," Dr Bell said.
"Fishing fleets have instrumentations on board and observers are placed on big vessels which can collect samples and bring them back for scientific analysis.” He said it was a “win-win” for science. "Because they can get more data at a lower cost and also a win for the fleets since the models would be improved because they use these models to understand ocean temperature and forecasts.
"Just imagine if the fishing fleets could have much more reliable forecast when La Nina and El Nino events were going to happen,” Dr Bell said. He added that this was dependent on improving climate modelling.
The Australia based research academic said the fishing fleets really had an initiative to cooperate and help us improve these models.He added there had been only preliminarily talks at this stage on this proposed idea.
Council of Regional Organisations from the Pacific, including The Pacific Community (SPC) and Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), are partnering with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to put a big proposal to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), said Dr Bell.
“To acquire the information we need to get a much better understanding about how tuna is going to respond to climate change in terms of warming of the oceans," he said. "This is because tuna is important to the economies of so many pacific island countries and until we understand how the tuna is going to respond, we can't plan effective adaptation."
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