Pacific Fishing Agency celebrates 40 years

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Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen. Photo: Lisa Williams/PMN

Republished from Radio New Zealand, 12 August 2019

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) celebrated 40 years of operation with a dinner hosted by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister in Honiara.

The organisation was first housed in a two bedroom house in Lengakiki in 1979 to support the sovereign rights of coastal states to conserve and manage their ‘living resources’ including migratory species.

Director General of the FFA, Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, said the group provides a forum for regional cooperation that ensures its 17 country members can leverage fisheries resources to maximize economic and social benefits for their communities.

Reflecting on the 40 years of the organisation, Dr Tupou-Roosen said the FFA is about making a positive difference in the lives of Pacific people, and she thanked past and current staff who served the region.

Study: Climate change will redistribute tuna populations

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Photo: Inigo Onandia/AZTI

Republished from Undercurrent News, 18 April 2019

More skipjack and yellowfin tuna will move to the tropical waters, while albacore, Atlantic bluefin, bigeye and southern bluefin will shift into colder seas in the future, according to research led by AZTI, a Spanish research body. 

If a coastal country’s local fleet anticipates the changes in abundance and distribution of the target species, it may adapt its fishing gear or change its target species, said Haritz Arrizabalaga, who carried out the study with Maite Erauskin-Extramiana.

“Knowing in advance what will happen in the future enables adaptation strategies to the transformations to be drawn up. [A coastal country’s local fleet] may be able to continue fishing the same species, but investing in larger vessels, capable of going out further in search of these species,” said Arrizabalaga.

The researchers took into account the effect of the environmental conditions on the worldwide distribution of tuna species, such as albacore, Atlantic bluefin, southern bluefin, tropical bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin between 1958 and 2004. This enables the influence of climate change in the future to be assessed and specific predictions to be made, they claim. The study has been published Global Change Biology

“During the historical period analyzed, the habitat distribution limits of the tuna have moved towards the poles at a rate of 6.5 kilometers per decade in the northern hemisphere and 5.5km per decade in the southern one. Based on the influence of climate change, even strong changes in tuna distribution and abundance are expected in the future, particularly at the end of the century (2088 – 2099),” said Arrizabalaga.

More specifically, the study forecasts that temperate tuna species, such as albacore, Atlantic bluefin and southern bluefin, will move towards the poles. Bigeye tuna will reduce its presence in the tropics and will move to warmer areas. On the other hand, the analysis predicts that the main two canned tuna species — skipjack and yellowfin — will become more abundant in the tropical areas, as well as in most of the fishing areas of coastal countries, or in other words, in the maritime economic exclusive zones which stretches from their coastline to a distance of 200 nautical miles.

“Tuna predictions offers relatively good news for tuna fishing to continue as an important food source, due to the origin of the main tuna protein consumption in humans comes from skipjack and yellowfin tuna from the tropical area,” said Arrizabalaga.

The study has enabled analysis on how the worldwide distribution and abundance of the main tuna species will vary due to climate change and, in this way, quantify the future trends of the tuna populations. 

“Tuna species are resources of enormous economic importance and a key source of protein for much of the population. As a result of climate change, their habitat distribution is changing and, related to this, the opportunities of different countries to access this source of wealth. This study aims to explain what has happened in the past and predict what will happen in the future so that countries and fishing fleets can come up with adaptation strategies to the new circumstances,” said Erauskin-Extramiana.

Sharks at increasing risk of becoming fishing bycatch

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An adult shortfin mako shark entangled in fishing rope. Photograph: Daniel Cartamil/PA

Researchers call for urgent action to protect large species in international waters

Australian Associated Press, The Guardian – 25 July 2019

The world’s shark populations are at increasing risk of becoming bycatch of international fishing fleets, which harvest them in open oceans where no legal protections exist, Australian researchers have said.

Prof Rob Harcourt, from Macquarie University, said large sharks were more vulnerable to longline fishing and called for urgent action to protect them by implementing management strategies on the high seas.

Harcourt joined colleagues from Australia and 25 other countries to collect and collate data from nearly 2,000 sharks tracked using satellite transmitter tags.

Read the rest of the article here.

Courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.

For more information on the Bycatch Management Information System (BIMS) operating in the Western and Central Pacific, visit