Forum Fisheries Agency

Honiara, Solomon Islands

Forum Fisheries Agency

Honiara, Solomon Islands
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Bell J.D.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Reid C.,Forum Fisheries Agency | Batty M.J.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Lehodey P.,Collecte Localisation Satellites | And 4 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2013

The four species of tuna that underpin oceanic fisheries in the tropical Pacific (skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye and albacore tuna) deliver great economic and social benefits to Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). Domestic tuna fleets and local fish processing operations contribute 3-20 % to gross domestic product in four PICTs and licence fees from foreign fleets provide an average of 3-40 % of government revenue for seven PICTs. More than 12,000 people are employed in tuna processing facilities and on tuna fishing vessels. Fish is a cornerstone of food security for many PICTs and provides 50-90 % of dietary animal protein in rural areas. Several PICTs have plans to (1) increase the benefits they receive from oceanic fisheries by increasing the amount of tuna processed locally, and (2) allocate more tuna for the food security of their rapidly growing populations. The projected effects of climate change on the distribution of tuna in the tropical Pacific Ocean, due to increases in sea surface temperature, changes in velocity of major currents and decreases in nutrient supply to the photic zone from greater stratification, are likely to affect these plans. PICTs in the east of the region with a high dependence on licence fees for government revenue are expected to receive more revenue as tuna catches increase in their exclusive economic zones. On the other hand, countries in the west may encounter problems securing enough fish for their canneries as tuna are redistributed progressively to the east. Changes in the distribution of tuna will also affect the proportions of national tuna catches required for food security. We present priority adaptations to reduce the threats to oceanic fisheries posed by climate change and to capitalise on opportunities. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

News Article | March 15, 2016

The Pacific supplies about 60 percent of the world's tuna, an economic mainstay for some small island nations, but the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) study is the first attempt to quantify the impact of banned activities. After two years of research, the European Union-funded study concluded 276,000-338,000 tonnes of Pacific tuna were taken illegally every year. It estimated the value of the black market catch at US$616 million, but said it could range anywhere from $US520 million to US$740 million. "The results seem confronting when you hear them up front—the thought of US$616 million dollars' worth of illegal fish is staggering," FFA director general James Movick said. He said the study would help the FFA—a Honiara-based organisation that helps regulate fishing in the waters of 17 Pacific nations—to combat the problem of illegal fishing. Island nations typically have huge territorial waters but limited resources with which to monitor fishing activity. Palau has only one long-range patrol boat to police an area of 500,000 square kilometres (193,000 square miles), roughly the size of Spain. The report found the bulk of illegal fishing was carried out by trawlers which are licenced to operate in Pacific waters. It said they either under-report their catch or transfer it to another vessel out of sight of monitors. An Australian think-tank this week urged Canberra to play a more active role in protecting the Pacific fishery, which it said was approaching "tipping point". The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said the tuna catch from the central and western Pacific was worth US$5.8 billion in 2014. But in a report released Monday, it said the fishery was under pressure from factors such as over-exploitation, population growth and climate change. The think-tank said it was in Australia's interests to protect the resource, describing it as a "game-changer" for some island nations. "If regional fisheries were to become seriously depleted, (Australia) would be under considerable political pressure to provide greater economic support for most of our island neighbours, with possible long-term implications for political stability," it said. Much of the over-fishing in the Pacific is blamed on so-called "distant water" fleets originating in Europe, the US and Asia. ASPI said that in addition to helping island states with fisheries management and enforcement, Canberra should mount a diplomatic initiative to make conservation a priority for the distant water fleets. It suggested the creation of an "Ambassador of Fisheries", with attachés in countries with large distant-water fleets such as Japan and Indonesia. "If our fisheries engagement is done well. It will facilitate stronger relations to support our broad regional political, economic, social, environmental and security objectives," it said. Explore further: Pacific nations look to increase tuna fishing fees

Reid C.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Reid C.,Forum Fisheries Agency | Caputi N.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | de Lestang S.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Stephenson P.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
Marine Policy | Year: 2013

The western rock lobster (Panulirus cygnus) fishery has been facing significant economic pressure from increasing costs, lower prices as well as predicted reduced catches due to low recruitment. A maximum economic yield (MEY) assessment estimated the fishing effort that would maximise the net present value of profits over 2008/09-2013/14 was about 50%-70% reduction of 2007/08 effort. The assessment accounted for fixed vessel costs and the variable pot lift cost. An important component of this assessment was the use of puerulus settlement time series that provided a reliable predictor of recruitment to the fishery 3-4 years later. This can be contrasted to most MEY assessments that would use an average catch-effort relationship rather than taking into account the expected recruitment. This predictive ability has been particularly useful as there has been a period of unusually low puerulus settlements over the 5 years (2006/07-2010/11) including the lowest two settlements in the 40-year time series. Due to the low settlements, substantial management changes were implemented in 2008/09 and 2009/10 (44% and 73% reduction in nominal fishing effort, respectively compared to 2007/08) to maintain the breeding stock at sustainable levels by having a significant carryover of legal lobsters into future years of lower recruitment. These effort reductions provided a unique opportunity to assess the economic impact of a fishery moving to an MEY effort level over two years. The CPUE increased from 1.1. kg/pot lift in 2007/08 to 1.7 and 2.7 in 2008/09 and 2009/10, respectively. These CPUEs were much higher than the expected levels (1.2 and 1.1, respectively) if the 2007/08 effort had been maintained in these two years. The vessel numbers declined by 14% and 36% in 2008/09 and 2009/10, respectively, compared to 2007/08. The fishery profit increased by AUS$13 and 49 million for 2008/09 and 2009/10, respectively, compared to that estimated if the 2007/08 effort level had continued. This assessment demonstrates the economic benefits of fishing at a level close to that estimated for MEY under an input management regime. The management decision-rule framework is currently based on having the egg production above a threshold reference level to ensure sustainability and now a target reference point based on MEY principles is also being considered. © 2013.

Caputi N.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | de Lestang S.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Reid C.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Reid C.,Forum Fisheries Agency | And 2 more authors.
Marine Policy | Year: 2015

The western rock lobster (. Panulirus cygnus) fishery is Australia's most valuable single-species fishery, worth AUD$200-$400 million annually. Stock assessment for this fishery utilises the puerulus settlement to predict recruitment to the fishery 3-4 years later. This predictive ability has been particularly useful recently, due to an unprecedented period of low settlement between 2006/07 and 2012/13. Pre-emptive management action (~70% effort reduction) was taken to provide greater protection to the breeding stock which also moved the fishery to the maximum economic yield (MEY) level of effort for the projected recruitment. In 2010/11, the fishery moved from an effort-controlled to a quota-controlled fishery, which led to changes in fishing practices resulting in reductions in fishing costs and increases in lobster prices of about US$16/kg. This provided a unique opportunity to compare an MEY assessment under effort and quota controls. The MEY assessment under quota controls for a 5-year period indicated that annual harvest rates of 37-47% of legal biomass will achieve catches of 5780-7370. t. in 2014. This MEY target harvest range, which complements existing sustainability reference points based on egg production, is robust to a range of costs, prices and profit discount rates. This catch range enables industry/managers to take into account marketing implications and social issues (e.g. employment) in quota setting and therefore could be considered a socio-economic target. The MEY level of fishing has increased egg production to well above threshold levels that were based on maximum sustainable yield, providing the fishery with increased resilience when faced with environmental perturbations. This enables consideration for relaxing some existing biological controls, e.g. setose (mature) females, females above a maximum size, and lobsters 76-77. mm carapace length. The relaxation of these controls is estimated to increase profits by about AUD$15 million annually due to higher catch rates and reduced fishing effort while maintaining egg production well above threshold levels. © 2014.

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