21 Jun 2018

Pacific resources quantified in new reports

2:24 pm on 21 June 2018

Three new released reports into marine protection look to retain biodiversity in the southwest Pacific, and recognise the value of the region's ocean resources.

The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme said the new information would help Pacific countries manage their ocean resources more effectively.

Fresh fish for sale in Nadi fish market in Viti levu Island, Fiji.

Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari

The Regional Director of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Mason Smith, said the Pacific was under considerable pressure from competing uses.

This includes industrial offshore fisheries, marine tourism, coastal mining, shipping, and waste disposal and discharge.

He said the Pacific Ocean also underpins the formal and informal economy of island nations with many Pacific Islanders depending on the ocean for their survival.

Large-scale and small-scale fishing in the waters off Madang in Papua New Guinea.

Large-scale and small-scale fishing in the waters off Madang in Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

SPREP said new research into mapping and distribution of the region's ocean geography, quantifying the value of the ocean economy and design planning of marine protected areas, would help build networks of the ocean's resources throughout the southwest Pacfic.

Cook Islands road map

Leading by example the Cook Islands has launched a roadmap laying out national standards for the trade and healthy management of aquatic species.

The five-year National Aquatic Biosecurity Strategy aims to ensure the long term sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture resources.

Fishing at sunset off Mangaia, Cook Islands

Fishing at sunset off Mangaia, Cook Islands Photo: Fe'ena Syme-Buchanan

The Ministry of Marine Resources said while the sector was still in its infancy, the Cook Islands had a mandatory obligation to manage these resources sustainably.

Cook Islands News reported the strategy aims to; control possible biological risks in aquatic environments; regulate the trade of live aquatic organisms and their products; improve disease management; and build the national infrastructure to deal with aquatic biosecurity.

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