A side event at the United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa focused on the role of aquaculture and small-scale fisheries in SIDS. The event, titled ‘Inclusive value chains for livelihoods, trade and food security: the case of small-scale fisheries and the aquaculture industry in small island developing states’, was co-sponsored by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and took place on Monday 1 September 2014.
Moses Amos, Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division, represented SPC at the side event as a panellist. His presentation focused on value chains in small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), emphasising the importance of coastal fisheries resources. He explained that coastal fisheries enhance economic growth in rural and isolated communities, often representing almost the only local source of livelihood. This helps reduce urban drift. They are also often the biggest source of non-imported nutrition for coastal communities, providing 50%–90% of protein intake. Coastal fisheries can thus strengthen food security and help reduce non-communicable diseases, which are associated with consumption of imported food.
However, coastal and marine fisheries enterprises, particularly those with industry and trade linkages to global supply chains of fish and fish products, are increasing the pressure on oceans and seas, and their biodiversity.
Mr Amos explained that SPC provides technical assistance to its 22 member PICTs to ensure that they are able to establish effective conservation and management measures for coastal fisheries in order secure maximum sustainable social and economic benefits for their people now and in the future. The greatest challenge for PICTs in this area is the impact on coastal fisheries resources from habitat degradation, ocean acidification, climate change, increasing populations and fishing pressure. Through its Coastal Fisheries Programme, SPC is implementing measures to mitigate the fishing pressure on coastal fisheries resources. These include deployment of low-cost inshore fish aggregating devices (FADs); development of low-cost, high-productivity community-based aquaculture projects; and exploration of the use of small pelagic fish species and new nearshore fisheries resources as well as oceanic fish to supplement or compensate for the decline in traditional coastal resources.
SPC is also helping members address challenges that constrain their capacity to add value to fisheries products, such as limited skills and infrastructure.