Roadmap to transform Pacific tuna fisheries

Developing smaller and locally owned tuna fisheries, Pacific islands can maximise economic returns. Photo: Marco Care/Marine Photobank Developing smaller and locally owned tuna fisheries, Pacific islands can maximise economic returns. Photo: Marco Care/Marine Photobank
Industry Database

Small Pacific islands are to see greater economic benefits with the promotion of more sustainable and locally owned and operated tuna fisheries, says Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

A recent report, Transforming Tuna Fisheries in Pacific Island Countries: an Alternative Model of Development, provides a roadmap for how governments and regional bodies can develop smaller-scale fisheries that will protect countries’ tuna reserves and create local jobs.

Dr Kate Barclay, lead author of the report, said: “While the Western and Central Pacific Ocean supplies over 60% of all tuna consumed globally, profits made out of this resource are not reaching the small island economies from where the tuna is sourced.”

Most tuna fishing in the Pacific is done by foreign vessels which pay access fees to island countries, usually only 5-6% of the landed value of fish.

The report recommends focusing on addressing unfavourable cost structures for domestic fisheries through taxation reform and introducing higher access costs for distant water vessels.

At the same, it is recommended that inshore and archipelagic areas are “reserved” for artisanal fisheries only. This will help build and sustain market demand for pole and line and hand line and artisanal tuna fisheries.

Duncan Williams, ocean campaigner, Greenpeace, added: “In Australia and the UK, all major tuna brands and retailers are now committed to buying only responsibly sourced canned tuna. Pacific Island countries can put themselves in the driver’s seat and reap the benefits of this shift.”

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