Data loading...

Sustainable Harvesting Of Tuna Should Be Core Of Solomon Policy

Dear Editor of Solomon Star - I read with much interest the above news article on the Star on Monday 9th, March 2009.

First of all, I would like to applaud the Prime Minister for his initiative to further develop fisheries sector in SI and to make it as one of the biggest revenue earners when logging revenue stops.

I fully agree with the PM that there are ample opportunities to further develop other fisheries than tuna.

We should be looking at prawn farming, clam shells farming, sea weeds farming, crayfish farming, mud crab farming, seas shells etc... and tuna farming and turning them into economical viable enterprises.

I urge the Ministry of Fisheries to provide necessary trainings and awareness on these potential fisheries opportunities, not only to the town people, but to those rural people in the villages as well.

However, in relation to tuna fishing, I do believe that the government should be more careful in ensuring that we will continue to have tuna in the unforeseeable future.

There is a paradox that increasing tuna catches by increasing numbers of purseiners in fishing in SI water may in fact kill or destroy our tuna resource just within a short period of time.

Therefore we should be looking at sustainable harvesting of tuna as the core aspect of the tuna policy here.

It is a real fact that the population of tuna world wide and in SI water is dramatically reducing and large scale purseine fishing is one of the main causes.

Over the recent years the Ministry of Fisheries has approved quite a number of median sized purseiners to fish in the Solomon waters.

This is not what we should be doing, we should be reducing purseine licences in SI as much as possible.

We should engage in environmental friendly mode of fishing such a pole & line, and pump boat fishing which is currently been piloted at Noro.

We should be looking at ways and means to develop and revive these modes of fishing and making them economical viable operations.

Such enterprises will not doubt provide ample jobs for our local people.

Apart from other disadvantages, purseine fishing employs fishing masters and senior fishing people from overseas, and they are highly paid in USD currency.

Their salaries and wages are remitted out of the country every month and this is not healthy for smallest economies like ours.

This is in contrast to the pole & line and other modes of tuna fishing where the fishing masters and the senior fishing officers are mostly locals.

We have seen a number of times in the recent years, the purseiners netted tuna inside the slot and  also netted a few miles from the shoreline.

The government should put an immediately stop to such fishing in the slot and netting about up 10 miles near the shorelines.

I would think that it is now necessary that the government revives and fully implements the Tuna Management Plan as matter of urgency.

This is one of the best practical pieces of regulations ever produced and if enacted, would ensure that benefits of our tuna fisheries are of long term.

Finally it is my hope that this fisheries policy should gear towards maximising fisheries revenues using fisheries sustainable operations and methods.

This I believe will ensure that we will continue to enjoy the financial benefits from fisheries for many years to come.