Conservation of Coastal and Marine Resources in the Kingdom of Tonga
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Conservation of Coastal and Marine Resources in the Kingdom of Tonga by Poasi F. Ngaluafe Ministry of Fisheries. Map of Tonga. Background. Kingdom of Tonga consists of 170 scattered island which 36 are inhabited Divided into 3 main groups (total land area – 747 km 2

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Conservation of Coastal and Marine Resources in the Kingdom of TongabyPoasi F. NgaluafeMinistry of Fisheries

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Map of Tonga of Tonga

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Background of Tonga

  • Kingdom of Tonga consists of 170 scattered island which 36 are inhabited

  • Divided into 3 main groups (total land area – 747 km2

  • Potential EEZ area approximately 700,000 km2 compare to Royal Proclamation (1887 and 1978) 395,000 km2

  • Total population approximately 100,000 and 70% lived in the main Island

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Coastal Area of Tonga

  • Royal Proclamation 1887

  • Royal Proclamation 1972

  • Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ – 1978)

  • Tongatapu inshore fishing area – 947 km2

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EEZ of Tonga


American Samoa


New Zealand

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Marine Coastal Resources (Legislation) of Tonga

  • Fisheries Act 1989 – provides management and development of Fisheries

  • Fisheries Management Act, 2002 – provides for conservation, management, sustainable utilization and development of fisheries resource (i.e. need to ensure the long term conservation and sustainable use of the fisheries resources)

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Parks and Reserve Act, 1988 of Tonga

  • Parks and Reserve Act 1988 (Ministry of Land, Survey and Natural Resources) – dealing with environmental issues in addition to management of MPAs

  • Draft of management plan for MPAs not yet endorsed by minister for Ministry of Land, Survey and Natural Resources, which prepared by Department of Environment (JICA long-term expert (2001)

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Continental shelf act 1970 of Tonga

  • Act provides for the protection, exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf –

    Prevention of pollution in consequence of works in connection with shelf

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Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1978 of Tonga

  • This act is not in force

  • If it will be – establish a twelve nautical mile territorial sea and 200 nautical mile EEZ

  • Total area of the EEZ would be 700,000 km2 as compare to approximately 400,000 km2 Royal Proclamation.

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Marine Resources (Commercial) of Tonga

  • Offshore – Tuna fishery

  • Bottomfish – Snapper and grouper

  • Inshore – Bech-de-mer, Lobster, Giant clam, pearl oyster, seaweed, coral harvester (Aquarium traders – export to international market)

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Coastal Resources Activities Currently employed in Tonga of Tonga

  • Reef-enhancement (green snail - Turbo mamorlatus – not native species, giant clam – Tridacna sp, trochus or top-shell – Trochus niloticus – not native species) – Aquaculture practiced

  • Establish of marine parks and MPAs

  • Public awareness programme – poster competition, ‘Lobster Man’ Video (size limitation)

  • Closed the fisheries from being exploited (i.e. bech-de-mer fisheries)

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Park and Reserves of Tonga

  • Hakaumama’o Reef

  • Pangaimotu Reef Reserve

  • Mounuafe Island park and Reef Reserve

  • Ha’atafu Beach Reserve

  • Malinoa Island Park and Reef Reserve

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Sites of Tonga

Hakau Mama’o Reef

Malinoa Is

Ha’atafu Beach

Pangaimotu Is



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Status of Inshore Fisheries Recently of Tonga

  • Giant clam – domestic (overexploited)

  • Bech-de-mer – export (Overexploited)

  • Lobster - domestic

  • Finfish – domestic and export (snapper and groupers) (aquarium fish - export)

  • Pearl oyster (under development – spat production)

  • Coral (dead and live) – (aquarium - traders)

  • Seaweed – angelhair (Cladosiphon sp) (Mozuku (Japanese name) – export)

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Giant Clam of Tonga

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Main issues caused the overexploit of the coastal area of Tonga

  • Increased fishing pressure driven by access to the market, rising price and population growth (i.e. bech-de-mer fishery)

  • Destructive fishing practices

  • Improved technology contributes to the ability of both subsistence and commercial fishers to exploit stocks without large increases in fishing effort (i.e. hookah apparatus)

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Needs and Constrain of Tonga

  • Coastal Development (tourism)

  • ILLEGAL fishing (Destructive methods)

  • Overfishing undersized (Lobster, clams, bech-de-mer, finfish)

  • Lack of public awareness

  • Lack of financial resources

  • Enforcement

  • Need more extensive more outreach and extension work in the community level

  • Lack of inappropriate technical equipment

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Recommendations of Tonga

  • Lack of enforcement of Legislative and Policy platforms which involved strengthening the conservation of the coastal area in Tongan water could be the critical issue to consider by the Tongan government

  • Improving the awareness programme is one of the focal point to consider in term of harvesting the resource in sustainable basis

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Cont recommendations of Tonga

  • Extend reef enhancement programme to other fisheries (i.e. bech-de-mer fishery)

  • Collaboration between relevant ministries should be encouraged to improve management of the coastal resources (Marine Parks and MPAs issue).