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Pole and Line

Mainly skipjack and small yellowfin are caught by pole-and-line gear. Most catch is for canning or producing a dried product.
About 7% of the tuna catch in the WCPO region is by pole-and-line gear, about 147,000 tonnes in 2009. In the 1980s several PacificIsland countries had fleets of these vessels, but most no longer operate due to competition with the more productive purse seine gear.

The WCP–CA pole-and-line fishery has several components:

  • the year-round tropical skipjack fishery, mainly involving the domestic fleets of Indonesia, Solomon Islands and French Polynesia, and the distant water fleet of Japan
  • seasonal sub-tropical skipjack fisheries in the home waters of Japan, Australia, Hawaii and Fiji
  • a seasonal albacore/skipjack fishery east of Japan (largely an extension of the Japan home-water fishery).
Economic factors and technological advances in the purse seine fishery (primarily targeting the same species, skipjack) have seen a gradual decline in the number of vessels in the pole-and-line fishery and in the annual pole-and-line catch during the past 15–20 years (Figure 7). The gradual reduction in numbers of vessels has occurred in all pole-and-line fleets over the past decade. Pacific Island domestic fleets have declined in recent years – fisheries formerly operating in Palau, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati are no longer active, only one vessel is now operating (seasonally) in Fiji, and fishing activity in the Solomon Islands fishery has reduced significantly from the level experienced during the 1990s. Several vessels continue to fish in Hawai’i, and the French Polynesian bonitier fleet remains active, but more vessels have turned to longline fishing. Provisional statistics also suggest that the Indonesian pole-and-line has also declined over the past decade. Most of the current pole-and-line catch occurs in the waters around Japan and Indonesia, with a now reducred level of catch by Japanese distant-water vessels in the tropical WCPO between 20N and 10S (Figure 8).

Figure 7. Pole-and-line catch by species.

Figure 8. Pole-and-line catch by species, 2007-2009.