The technical manual covers standard designs for different kinds of anchored FADs, and some regional modifications of these. It also discusses technical considerations for the design of upper floatation devices, main lines, and anchors, and considers deployment location and techniques from different kinds of fishing vessels, and maintaining FADs.
The manual improves on a 2005 edition by drawing on the experience and lessons learned by users of FADs across the Pacific.
The manual is published by the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division of the Pacific Community (SPC).
The new manual doesn’t replace the old ones, which FAME says still contains useful technical information. However, FAME said it became clear in 2016 that the older manual did need updating, when Pacific FAD users came together to share their knowledge and experiences in FAD design and innovation.
They said information that was still relevant in the 2005 edition had not been repeated in the new manual, but was referred to.
THE Solomon Islands government has earned a record $399 million Solomon Island Dollar (SBD) from its tuna resources in 2017, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) in Honiara has revealed. This is around $51 million US dollars.
The fishing industry now offers hope for the country, behind the logging industry, which earns more but is slowly decreasing in its revenue.
Ministry’s Under-Secretary (Technical) Ferral Lasi said offshore fisheries remain the largest income-generating sector and this is from tuna alone, which accounts for almost 90 per cent of the revenues.
He said it’s a trend he believes could take the lead in a country that has heavily relied on logging for the last two decades.
“Tuna is soon to take up the lead, as it continues to show a massive increase in revenue compared to the past.
“This positive trend shows the improvement in management of the country’s ocean resources and, most importantly, the collective efforts from neighbouring countries in the region to pursue a common objective to manage tuna,” Mr Lasi said.
He added that the species of tuna caught in the Solomon waters worth millions of dollars are albacore, yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack – the four main species of interest in the world market.
“The wealth of any island nation in the Pacific lies in the massive area of waters surrounding their archipelagos, and that is measured 200 nautical miles from the shoreline, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”
Like other island countries, the ocean bounded under the sovereignty of Solomon Islands is many times larger than the land mass of the country itself, hence the responsibility to care and protect the EEZ is a challenge.
Mr Lasi’s revelation that $339 million collected from revenues in fisheries by the government is a well-deserved acknowledgement for the hardworking staff in the MFMR.
He dubbed logging in the country as a ‘sunset industry’.
“The fishing industry remains the most promising industry that keeps the government optimistic for the future.”
He said once other marine species are managed well to benefit the local people and enable them to participate in commercial activities, more revenue will pour into the country without heavy reliance on tuna.
He said an example of this is bech-de-mer (sea cucumber), which is a valuable marine species but not abundant like tuna.
Mr Lasi stressed that once the right policies are put in place by the government to help local people, the management and commercialization of sea cucumber will definitely boost the economy and enrich the indigenous people.
“There are many marine resources inside our coastal waters and the ocean that should be enough to sustain our livelihood and support our government to commit in its service delivery.”
Mr Lasi further stated that more work is being carried out by MFMR to gauge the maximum benefit Solomon Islands can acquire from its ocean resources, though sustainable management.
There may be several more millions generated from other marine products.
But the question is, how much of that money actually ends up in the hands of Solomon Islanders?
This is a hard question to answer.
But it’s a question worth answering if Solomon Islanders are to quantify the benefits they are deriving from their own marine resources.
Former chief executive officer of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and the country’s very own fisheries law expert, Dr Transform Aqorau, once said that the Solomon Islands should be earning more from its tuna than what it is earning now.
But for the nation to earn maximum benefits from its marine resources, resource owners must be considered and included in all facets of policy and decision-making.
Right now, most of the big players in the industry are outsiders. Solomon Islanders are still missing out.
Whilst the fisheries industry holds much hope for the country, authorities need to ensure resource owners get maximum benefit from their resources.
Member countries and territories of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) have agreed to adopt measures to conserve stocks of tropical tuna even as conservation groups criticised the decision to increase the catch limit of bigeye tuna.According to consensus reached at the 14th regular session of the commission which concluded on 8 December in Manila, the “bridging measures”, such as regulating and monitoring the use of fish aggregating device (FAD) and long lines of baited hooks, will be in place for three years while WCPFC members prepare a comprehensive tuna harvest strategy covering catch limits and spawn stocks.“Conservation and management measures shall ensure, at a minimum, that stocks are maintained at levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield, pending agreement on target reference points as part of the harvest strategy approach,” said the draft agreement (7 December).
The 26-member WCPFC, the governing body for international agreement on migratory fish in the Pacific, are composed mostly of small island states in the Pacific but also include developed countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States.
The WCPFC said the use of FADs will be prohibited for three months in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and two months in the high seas. Exempted are Kiribati-flagged vessels operating in the high seas adjacent to Kiribati’s EEZ and Philippine vessels fishing in corresponding situations.
FADs are semi-permanent floating structure made from any materials used to lure fish such as tuna. But FADs end up trapping other marine animals like sharks, sea turtles and dolphins, and also catch young tuna, precluding them from breeding.
Conservation and public interest groups welcomed the measures, but were critical of the commission’s decision to increase the catch limit of bigeye tuna by nearly 10 per cent. Critics have pointed out that the Commission misinterpreted the Scientific Committee’s report in August as suggesting that the bigeye is not overfished.
Holly Koehler, vice-president, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, Washington, explains the scientific committee of the WCPFC had referred to uncertainty in the bigeye stock status and recommended to maintain the current level so as not to decrease biomass.
“That’s why we asked that fishing mortality on bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks not increase from current levels to maintain current or increased spawning levels until the commission can agree on appropriate target reference points,” Koehler tells SciDev.Net.
Amanda Nickson, a director at Pew Charitable Trusts, says raising the catch limit will weigh on the bigeye’s biomass. “Commission members should ensure negotiations start immediately toward a stronger measure next year, to ensure precautionary, science-based management of its fisheries,” she says.
The western and central Pacific Ocean accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the global tuna catch in 2016, worth over US$ five billion.
Members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission concluded a five-day conference in Manilla, The Philippines, earlier this week by increasing catch limits on tropical tunas. It’s a move at least one conservation group fears could threaten the bigeye stock.
Beginning next year, Japan will be able to catch up to 18,265 metric tons of bigeye tuna. South Korea was allotted a nearly 14,000-metric-ton limit, while Taiwan will be able to harvest nearly 10,500 metric tons. China received a limit of more than 8,200 metric tons, in addition to a one-time transfer of 500 metric tons from Japan in 2018. Indonesia received a provisional allotment of nearly 5,900 metric tons, and the United States, which won the right to use its Pacific territories to increase its limit, can catch more than 3,500 metric tons.
Those limits were set after the commission’s scientific committee concluded that the bigeye stock “appears” not to suffer from overfishing.
Amanda Nickson, who is the director of international fisheries for The Pew Charitable Trusts, called the decision to increase the limits by 10 percent disappointing. The commission’s decisions mean the bigeye stock have a greater than 20 percent chance of falling below its accepted biomass standards over the next 30 years.
“The inability to agree on measures that are in line with scientific advice puts into question the Commission’s ability to fulfill its mandate and meet the needs of the Pacific islands that depend on healthy tuna fisheries for economic security and the distant-water fishing nations that operate Pacific Ocean fleets,” she said.
In its agreement, the commission announced it encourage members to research methods that would reduce the catch of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas. In addition, would review the bigeye catch limits based on any revised stock assessments and the recommendations of the scientific committee.
WCPFC members also said they intend to switch to a zone-based system of longline catch limits to replace the current method of flag-based limits within members’ exclusive economic zones.
The new measures are scheduled to take effect on 6 February and will run through 2020.
Nickson said she hopes the members continue their discussions with develop plans to better protect the stocks.
“The health of tropical tunas in the Pacific, and the communities who depend on them, requires it, and cannot wait [to restart negotiations] another year,” she said.
Different approaches towards managing a heavily depleted fish stock have emerged between two Pacific nations.
In the past decade southern albacore numbers have dropped significantly making profitability very difficult, especially for Pacific-owned boats that do not receive fuel subsidies available to many foreign vessels.
At the 14th annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) currently being held in Manila, Philippines, the Solomon Islands and the Cooks Islands – home to the two biggest southern albacore fisheries – have separately voiced preferences for competing management systems for the tuna.
Previously, Solomon Islands said it has withdrawn from a key fishing agreement aiming to limit the total catches of southern albacore, citing differences over how to best manage catches.
The agreement, known as the Tokelau Arrangement, saw 11 nations from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) member countries agree in 2014, to place limits on albacore catches in their EEZ waters.
Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Ferral Lasi, who also heads Solomon Islands’ WCPFC delegation, said Tokelau’s “catch-based system” which uses quotas to allocate fishing rights was in conflict with its own longline vessel day scheme (VDS).
Vessel day schemes sell fishing rights to fishing boats at a daily rate. The system has been used successfully by a group of Pacific nations under an arrangement called the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA). Fishing fleets – mostly from distant water fishing nations – can pay over US$10,000 per day to fish for skipjack tuna in PNA waters.
Under the VDS, PNA nations have seen fisheries revenue rise from US$60 million annually in 2010 to close to $500 million this year.
This year, the Cook Islands established a quota-based management system for albacore catches in its own waters, which it believes is better-suited for the fishery.
Speaking in Manila, Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources Secretary Ben Ponia said differences between the longline and purse seine fishing methods need to be considered when assessing management systems.
Issues such as higher by-catch in the longline industry and difference in stock sizes between various species of tuna also need to be taken into account.
“In some respect applying an effort control over the skipjack fishery was not a problem,” he said.
“But when you’re dealing with a much smaller stock of Albacore, or Yellowfin or Bigeye, you really need to be careful as to how much volume you are extracting.”
“It is probably easier to manage using a vessel day scheme, but ultimately what we’re trying to do is control catches, not effort,” he said.
In 2015, catch value for southern albacore reached US$357 million.
Between 8-10 per cent of Albacore catches occur in Cook Islands waters, he added.
Ponia said the Cook Islands has reservations about aspects of the Tokelau Arrangement, but hasn’t formally withdrawn.
“We are prepared to engage in the Albacore fishery in a meaningful way, and we are demonstrating that I believe through our own regulations,” said Ponia.
Despite differences over management approaches towards albacore, Lasi said the primary reason Solomon Islands is pulling out of the arrangement is concern over a reduced catch allocation for his country.
“We don’t want to be constrained,” he said.
The Solomon Islands is now devising a replacement for the Tokelau arrangement, Lasi said.
“We are proposing another arrangement on top of Tokelau that will be better for everyone, including the Solomon Islands.”
Apart from Solomon Islands, signatories to the Tokelau Arrangement include: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.