Fisheries study addresses critical data gap


A valuable new study on fisheries in the Pacific Islands region is now available.

Fisheries in the Economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories produced by the Pacific Community (SPC), with support from the Government of Australia and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), was launched in the wings of the Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial meeting today, in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

This book provides a new baseline for assessing the value of fisheries in Pacific Island countries and territories, both for measuring achievements and for assessing future improvements in sustainable fishery management.

It also documents changes in the management of the Pacific tuna fishery, food security concerns for coastal fisheries in the face of growing populations and the effects these have on Pacific Island economies.

Key findings in the 2016 study reveal that coastal fisheries production has not increased significantly between 1999-2014 despite indications at the national level of increasing fishing pressure which validates concerns that many coastal fisheries in the region are either fully or over-exploited.

In contrast to coastal fisheries, access fees for foreign fishing increased almost three-fold (279%) in the period 2007-2014, as a result of the Vessel Day Scheme being introduced by the parties to the Nauru Agreement.

Fisheries is a critical sector for food security and economic growth in the Pacific region. The sustainable development of the industry and effective management of this precious resource has been hampered by the lack of accurate and up-to-date data.

“Pacific Island countries and territories and their communities need to make informed decisions about the management of their fisheries sector given the importance of these resources for both food security and small-scale livelihoods.

However, the lack of comprehensive data for coastal fisheries has been a major constraint in putting the estimates of production and value together,” the Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, Moses Amos, said at the launch.

“This is an area that needs to be addressed in the coming years so that when the study is undertaken again in five or six years, some of the current uncertainties would have been resolved,” Mr Amos said.
The 2016 Fisheries in the Economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories is the third volume in a series of studies of fisheries – known as Benefish – to quantify benefits from the fisheries sectors of Pacific Island countries conducted by SPC consultant, Robert Gillet.

Mr Gillet also authored the first and second volumes, in 2001 and 2009 respectively.

Mr Gillet visited 18 Pacific Island countries and territories and worked with local consultants in several locations to research for the 630-page study which was published by SPC in June 2016.

Media contacts:
Lindsay Chapman   SPC Deputy-Director, FAME Division, [email protected]
Jean-Noel Royer    SPC Communication Officer, [email protected] or +679 923 6432
Lisa Williams-Lahari   Media Officer,  Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, [email protected] or +677 757 4230

Useful links:
Benefish report web page – Fisheries in the economies of Pacific Island countries and territories
Link to full PDF (8.9 Mb) – Gillett - Benefish