Ripples from Pacific fisheries forums to be felt globally

Pacific Scoop
4 March 2015

Noumea – The future management of one of the world’s most significant fisheries which spans more than 30 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean will be under review at back-to-back forums over the next week at the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Marine scientists, natural resource managers, researchers, community fishers and non-governmental organisations from 24 countries and territories will take part in a forum on the future of Pacific coastal and inshore fisheries management from today until Thursday.

It will focus on the role of communities in coastal fisheries and natural resource management, and how community-level action can contribute to national systems addressing future food security and livelihoods.

The catch from Pacific coastal fisheries alone is estimated at 155,000 tonnes per year with a value of US$320-500 million.

Across the region, small-scale fisheries provide vital income for around 50 per cent of coastal households and also comprise 50 to 90 per cent of dietary protein.

Regional food security is a crucial issue linked to fisheries, with per capita seafood consumption in many Pacific Island countries and territories three to five times higher than the global average, for example ranging from 18 kg per person per year in Papua New Guinea to 147 kg per person per year in Tuvalu.

The forum is being staged by SPC in partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, World Fish, the University of Wollongong and the Locally-Managed Marine Area Network.

It will be followed by the 9th biennial Heads of Fisheries meeting from 6-12 March at which senior Pacific government officials, Pacific regional agencies and observers will convene to examine SPC’s fisheries and aquaculture work and its linkages to national and territorial fisheries administrations, and issues facing the region’s coastal and oceanic fisheries.

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