Caption: Marine algae culture in Tabiteuea, Kiribati (Credit: Antoine Teitelbaum, Copyright: Secretariat of the Pacific Community).
Friday, 1 August 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Headquarters, Noumea, New Caledonia–Acknowledging that fisheries are of fundamental importance to the Pacific Islands region, Dr Colin Tukuitonga of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) today welcomed Australia’s announcement of an AU $9.6 million funding package for fisheries at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum in Palau. The funding, which will cover a four-year period, particularly targets coastal fisheries development.
Dr Tukuitonga, SPC’s Director-General, says, ‘This new programme funding approach will greatly enhance SPC’s ability to provide science-based technical support and information to Pacific Island countries for the sustainable management and conservation of their oceanic and coastal fisheries resources.’
Countries too have welcomed the funding, expressing their appreciation to the Australian government for the additional support, which is seen as a demonstration of confidence in the value of SPC‘s service delivery in coastal fisheries.
To a large extent, fisheries underpin economic activity and food security in Pacific Island countries and territories. For highly migratory oceanic fisheries resources like tuna, fisheries management in one country’s waters has regional impacts. With coastal fisheries, the results of good management, or lack of it, have long-term impacts at the national level. Therefore, development of national, subregional and regional frameworks and arrangements for the governance and management of fisheries resources is essential to ensure they remain sustainable.
SPC plays a key role in scientific assessments of the status of both regional tuna stocks and the coastal fisheries of individual countries. This work, done by SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division, provides a basis for management decisions to achieve the highest level of economic and social benefits, compatible with sustainable use of fisheries resources.
Over time, SPC has contributed to improving knowledge of fish and marine invertebrate stocks and to supporting development of local enterprises involved in sustainable fishery-related activities such as fishing fleets, processing industries and individual or village initiatives. It is also working closely with member countries to integrate software tools into more comprehensive national fisheries information management systems, enabling countries to link various types of data to better inform management and combat illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing in their exclusive economic zones.