Participants with Minister of Fisheries and Forestry (3rd left) pose for a group photo.Photo.SUPPLIED.
Proper management and continued advocacy of our coastal fisheries resources is important for food security, income generation and employment opportunities.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Hon. Osea Naiqamu while opening the 2015 Fiji?s Coastal Fisheries and Invertebrate Resources ? Poor Data Methods Workshop at the USP-ICT centre today.
The two-day workshop gathered fisheries scientists and coral reef fisheries experts from around Fiji and the region to discuss and share cost effective ways of collating and analysing fisheries data to improve coastal fisheries management in Fiji.
The Minister said that the department would be setting up a new Coastal Fisheries Management Division operational in the next three to five years.
?This is to improve data collection and transform the department?s licensing, monitoring, control and surveillance and put in place proper enforcement of fisheries laws and regulations for sustainable benefits of coastal fisheries into the future,? Mr Naiqamu said.
He added that fisheries are renewable resources however if not managed properly, the level of depletion would worsen at an unsustainable rate and could hasten pace of extinction.
?Fijians on average consume approximately 35kg per capita of fish per year it is however projected to be much higher across any fishing villages and maritime island communities being estimated at 113kg per capita of fish consumption as confirmed by a survey by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community last year.?
Mr Naiqamu said that in recent years, land degradation, habitat destruction, increased pollution and unchecked exploitation of fisheries resources have become a major cause of serious decline in our coastal fisheries resources.
He added that the ministry would be stepping up efforts to improve the management of our coastal fisheries and invertebrate resources through investment in funding and manpower.