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API NETWORK COURSE E.CONFERENCE, 2 Dec 05. SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES IN SOUTH PACIFIC: ISSUES & FUTURE DIRECTIONS. GBRMPA. OUTLINE OF PRESENTATION . THE SOUTH PACIFIC REGION TYPES OF FISHERIES STATUS OF GLOBAL/PACIFIC FISHERIES FISHERIES MANAGEMENT MODELS, TOOLS

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API NETWORK COURSE E.CONFERENCE, 2 Dec 05

SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES IN SOUTH PACIFIC: ISSUES & FUTURE DIRECTIONS

GBRMPA


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OUTLINE OF PRESENTATION

  • THE SOUTH PACIFIC REGION

  • TYPES OF FISHERIES

  • STATUS OF GLOBAL/PACIFIC FISHERIES

  • FISHERIES MANAGEMENT MODELS, TOOLS

  • SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES: NEW DIRECTIONS


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1. SOUTH PACIFIC REGION

  • Vast ocean, generally low productivity

  • Many small islands, scattered, archipelagic

  • Many coral reefs, high biodiversity (many thousands, high productivity,

  • Pacific island countries (PICS), scattered, archipelagic (eg 12 in USP Region), small sizes, but vast marine areas (Exclusive Economic Zones)

    Image: ocean color (Seawifs satellite, showing Chlorophyl (phytoplankton), ocean productivity and fisheries potential


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MARINE RESOURCES: INSHORE

INSHORE HABITATS:

  • rivers, estuaries, mangroves, lagoons, coral reefs

  • Support edible and medicinal algae, plants

  • Invertebrates (molluscs, crustaceans, sea urchins, beche-de-mer etc)

  • Fish (>1000 species, baitfish, lagoons, corals)

Marshall Is

Kiribati

Sol Is

Fiji

SOUTH PACIFIC CORAL REEFS (RED)


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MARINE RESOURCES: OFFSHORE

OFFSHORE HABITATS: seafloor (very deep) and ocean body

  • Pelagic surface, fish (tunas, billfish etc)

  • Pelagic species amongst the world’s greatest fisheries

  • Tunas most important US$2 billion pa)

  • Highly migratory species, travel to areas of high productivity

  • Strong influence of ENSO

Tuna landings, normal years above,

ENSO yrs (below)


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2. TYPES OF FISHERIES

  • Traditional/subsistence

  • Recreational

  • Artisanal, small scale commercial

  • Industrial, large scale

  • Aquaculture


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2.1. Traditional/subsistence fisheries

  • Seafood essential for survival of Pacific Islanders

  • Seafood protein staple (90% protein)

  • Pacific Islanders maritime people, fishing/maritime cultures

  • Many species exploited, many fishing techniques, great traditional knowledge

  • Traditionally tribal, with land and sea estates (Fiji: ‘Vanua’)

  • Still important in many PICs, in outer islands, rural areas (eg 40% indigenous Fijians, 85% rural I-Kiribati)

  • Food security essential


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2.2. Recreational fisheries

  • Important in developed countries, urban communities, tourism

  • Focus is ‘enjoyment’ (angling, sportsfishing)

  • Cultural connection in PICs

  • Many techniques, gears

  • High cost, low returns (focus on biggest species)

  • Economically very important (eg $2-3 billion pa in Australia)


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2.3. Artisanal, small scale commercial fisheries

  • Commercial, small-scale, owner-operated

  • Local control

  • Small boats, low cost, ice boxes (eg skiffs+outboards)

  • Inshore focus, reef and lagoonal species etc

  • Gears: gillnets, baited lines

  • Supply urban demand

  • Diverse catch (many species)

  • Small quantities but many fishers, boats

  • Often fish in traditional waters, compete with subsistence fishers


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South Pacific Islands

Fisheries essential

Food security

Traditional food

Increased pressures in urban islands

Competition subsistence and commercial

Declining catches


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2.4. Industrial, large scale commercial fisheries

  • Commercial, large-scale, high cost, company operated

  • Foreign controlled

  • Large vessels, professional crew, high costs, high operational costs

  • Offshore focus, tunas and billfish

  • Gears: mass capture techniques (nets, trawls etc), freezers, ship-based processing

  • Export focus, high volume, high value

  • Fewer vessels, very efficient, high mobility

  • Fish in PIC Exclusive Economic Zones


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3. STATUS OF FISHERIES (Global/Pac)

GLOBALLY: fisheries catches declining

70% of stocks overfished/declining

Many stocks collapsed (historic major fisheries cod, some tunas)

World fisheries in crisis

Fisheries management generally declared a failure


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STATUS OF PIC FISHERIES

  • INSHORE REEF FISHERIES: urban and many rural areas declining catches

  • Some species collapsed (giant clams extinct in some islands; Maori wrasse fish threatened)

  • Reasons: overfishing, decline in water quality, pollution, loss of juvenile habitats etc

  • OFFSHORE FISHERIES: Generally sustained, skipjack tuna largest, under-fished; yellowfin generally sustained (decline in large sizes)


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4. FISHERIES MANAGEMENT THEORY

  • Fish are (theoretically) a renewable resource (ie those harvest may be replaced by natural recruitment)

  • Little information and little management of many species

  • Major fisheries: Fisheries biologists developed models for sustainable development, based on age, growth rate, mortality and fishing catch.

  • Maximum sustainable yield models used to estimate amount of fish which can be removed from a stock (population)

MAXIMUM YIELD

decline

Yield (Wt $)

Max economic

yield

FISHING EFFORT (NO BOATS ETC)


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General fisheries management tools, problems

Note: Fish are difficult to study, little biological data, knowledge of populations (fish live in foreign environment, out of sight, fish swim, some migrate vast distances)

Sustainable yield estimates: regulate amount taken each year to be under the estimated maximum yield.

  • Problems: (but models simplistic, many assumptions, little biological data, great inter-annual variation in breeding and recruitment etc)

    Controls on fishing: Protect undersized fish Limit fishing effort through licensing; control time, seasons, gears etc (ie reducing fishing efficiency, increasing costs)

  • Problems: size regulations ineffective; large females are far more fecund (produce more eggs)

  • fishermen devise ways of being more efficient, bigger nets, motors etc.

  • Managers, politicians increase numbers of licences etc)


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WHAT WENT WRONG?

Previous fisheries management largely unsuccessful. Why?

  • Fish considered a ‘common property’ (rush to get in first, commercialisation)

  • Yield models imprecise (‘rough estimate’, many assumptions, migratory)

  • Models too greedy (ie ‘go for maximum’, not lower conservative figure)

  • Models distorted by political expediency, corrupt officials (eg in Fiji twice the number of Tuna vessels vessels than recommended by managers)

  • Little biological information (none for most species)

  • Ineffective regulation, enforcement, policing

  • Declining stocks often result of declining environments, loss of habitat (eg in NSW, Australia, loss of 60% seagrass, wetlands, will result in similar decline in those dependent fish.


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5. SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES: new approaches

Ecosystem-based management techniques

  • Protect water quality (pollution affects larvae, juveniles, adults: requires catchment management)

  • Establish fisheries refuges or marine protected areas (protect 30% of area to protect core breeding population)

  • Protect habitat (esp. juvenile habitat, seagrass, mangroves)

  • Ban destructive techniques (dredges, bottom trawling, drift nets)

    Sustainable management

  • Total allowable catches: Use of models for approximations of yield; use of conservative maximum economic yield models, Close monitoring of catches and effort (amount of fishing)

  • Controls on mass-capture techniques

  • Regulations on lengths of gill nets, mesh of nets and traps to allow smaller fish to pass through)

  • Responsible fisheries practices (FAO)

  • International, collaborative management

  • Community-based management

  • Increasing economic values, quality, marketing, value-adding

  • ‘User pays’ (fishers pay for resource management)


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Holistic approaches: A healthy reef depends on its connected habitats

The Red Emperor spends different stages of its life cycle utilising different habitats

The life cycle of the red snapper (Lutjanus sebae)

Includes many habitats. All must be protected.

(GBRMPA)

(Source: R Kelly, ACRS)


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PIC inshore management

Community-based management

Support from Govt, NGOs

Re-establishment of sea tenure, fishing grounds

Self-management

Protected areas

Protected species


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PIC offshore management

  • UN Law of the Sea

  • 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones

  • New ‘Tuna Convention’

  • Whole stock, regional management (Forum Fisheries Agency; Tuna Commission)

  • Increase opportunies to PICs

  • More conservative models

  • Close monitoring



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