16 Mar 2017

Pacific tries to focus on coastal fishery management

8:16 pm on 16 March 2017

Pacific countries are banding together to address the lack of surveillance and poor management of coastal fisheries in the region.

A snorkeler diving through a large school of fish at a coral reef

Photo: William Ray

The heads of fisheries from 27 countries are in Noumea this week to talk about the management of the regional fisheries.

This year there has been a renewed focus on coastal fisheries surveillance and management.

The director general of the Pacific Community, Colin Tukuitonga says despite the huge importance of coastal fisheries to Pacific peoples there is virtually no surveillance and little data.

"Tuna is where the money and the political attention is and someone described it the other day that we have spent a lot of time and effort in ensuring food security for the rest of the world but we have not done so well on food security sources for our own people."

Colin Tukuitonga says by 2030, it is estimated that 115,000 metric tons of fish will be needed to feed Pacific people and small managed coastal sites will not be enough to maintain a sustainable level of stock.