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Tuna Fleets Could Be Forced To Land By-catch In Pacific To Solve Food Shortage Pacific Island Nations, September 20, 13

Tuna is set to be the solution for Pacific Island nations as they suffer from dwindling catch of other fish. Local small scale fisheries should now be focusing on catching more tuna to overcome the problem of not being able to find enough fish close to shore to feed the ever-growing islands’ population.

Environmental pollution, rising temperatures and an increasing acidity in the ocean’s waters are all said to be contributing factors to this issue. Coral reefs in the region are disappearing at an alarming rate, resulting in depletion in availability of the fish that have traditionally served as a staple diet for the Pacific Island people.
Johann Bell, a fishing expert who works with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) said: “Coral fishing could shrink by 20 percent by the year 2050.”
A whole 20 percent of the global tuna stock is situated in the waters surrounding the eight Pacific Islands: F.S. Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands. In order to catch tuna and not further impact the current condition of the region’s waters however, fishermen must venture out past their traditional fishing ground of the coral reefs.
Further into the Pacific Ocean, tuna swarms freely. Pacific Island nations now need to learn to adapt their fishing methods in order to catch the tuna before it can become a viable solution to the current problem.
The island countries also face the task of urging foreign fleets that fish in their EEZs based on the purchase of fishing days, to contribute towards improving the food security of the local population. Better utilization of by-catch will become a major focus in this development.
Bell added: “We want fleets to be forced to bring their by-catch to land and sell it in cities here before they return to their home countries with the tuna they’ve caught.”
He also suggested that the amount of fishing licenses granted to foreign vessels should be reduced. “The island countries should hold onto more of the licenses to feed their own people,” he said.