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.
Market wharves of Honiara, Solomon Islands. Photo: Francisco Blaha
Solomon Islands, Tuesday 6 August 2019 –the Honourable Chief
Justice of the Solomon Islands Sir Albert Palmer and the Director-General of
the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen yesterday
opened the first Pacific regional judicial symposium on the theme “Responsibility
The judicial symposium is attended by members of the
judiciary from the Pacific Islands region, a judge of the International
Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and international law experts, and will
discuss in particular the responsibility of States, the responsibility of
international organisations, and the responsibility of persons, in the
governance of fisheries.
The Honourable Chief Justice said: “Globally, this
area of international law is relatively new and gaining prominence and it is
essential that members of the judiciary are appraised. This Symposium provides
an opportunity for our region to be a pioneer in considering the attribution of
responsibility in fisheries to States, international organisations, and
FFA Director-General said: “Fisheries plays a central
role for Pacific Islands people – in our culture, food security and economic
development. It is for these fundamental reasons that our FFA Members take
their responsibility in fisheries very seriously and continue to set
world-leading standards. This judicial symposium is significant – it is an
expression of that commitment. It is also important that the symposium is held in
the very week of our 40th anniversary. Our ongoing work honours the
visionary decision of our Leaders to establish FFA.”
It is anticipated that the discussions will be robust
and delegates will gain an enhanced recognition and understanding of their role
in attributing responsibility under international law vis-à-vis the
responsibility of: States in their capacity as flag States, coastal States,
port and market States; international organisations including regional
fisheries management organisations and advisory agencies; and persons. The judicial symposium will be held from 5 –
8 August 2019 at the FFA Conference Centre in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries
assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that
fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides
expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make
sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional
decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int
Japan is giving Solomon Islands aid to support its fisheries development programmes.
In an agreement signed on Monday, Japan is providing $US1.76 million so the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources can buy equipment to support development of fisheries and the management of coastal resources.
Under the Solomons National Development Scheme, fisheries is recognised as a key sector for food security and economic development.
The aid will also help the country deal with threats from over-fishing and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Purse seine fishing vessels have crowded Majuro’s lagoon since late May as low world market prices and over-stocks of tuna at Bangkok canneries have slowed the transshipment process. Majuro has been the world’s busiest tuna transshipment port for the past several years.
Photo: Marianas Variety/Garry Venus,Francisco Blaha
MAJURO — The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority or MIMRA is engaged in updating its strategic and tuna management plans, said Director Glen Joseph Thursday.
“Tuna is the number one driver of the economy here,” said Joseph. “We’ve had tuna management plans over the years. We’re revising it now so it caters to our regional and international obligations and development of the vessel day scheme.”
Majuro has developed into the world’s busiest tuna transshipment port, with 400-500 purse seine vessel transshipments annually. In 2017, 423 purse seiners transshipped nearly 300,000 tons of tuna in Majuro that were delivered to off-shore canneries by tuna carrier vessels, according to MIMRA.
In addition, revenue generated from the tuna fishery has skyrocketed since 2010 under the management of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement’s vessel day scheme. Marshall Islands is one of nine islands that implements PNA’s VDS to manage purse seine fishing in the region. Tuna revenue hovered around $3 million annually in the early 2000s. In 2017, a new record was set in Marshall Islands with over $33 million generated from the commercial tuna industry.
During the past month, over 30 purse seiners and carrier vessels have been anchored in Majuro’s lagoon awaiting transshipment as low world market prices and a glut of tuna in Bangkok have slowed the transshipment process.
MIMRA’s Oceanic Division is engaged in developing the new management plan with the assistant of two Fisheries New Zealand representatives. Dr. Aimee Komugabe-Dixson, a Pacific Fisheries Advisor, and Hilary Ayrton, a Fisheries Analyst with the Highly Migratory Species Team, have been working since last week with MIMRA’s team at the fisheries department’s Majuro headquarters.
They’ve been meeting daily with Oceanic Division staff since June 3 to put the new plan together.
Komugabe-Dixson made it clear that, “We don’t write plans.” The tuna management plan now in preparation is being developed by MIMRA staff with advice and support of the Fisheries New Zealand team. “We provide structure and guidance,” she said, adding the aim is to “develop a plan that is useable.”
Fisheries New Zealand comes under the Ministry of Primary Industries and the two visiting fisheries advisors are part of a program that is called “Te Pātuitanga Ahumoana a Kiwa” (Partnerships in Pacific Fisheries). It works with government organizations that administer fisheries in Pacific island countries and territories.
Komugabe-Dixson said their program works to build capacity in the Pacific region by developing partnerships and relationships with fisheries staff in each island. MIMRA staff are driving the process for developing the new plan, she said.
Offshore Fisheries Advisor Francisco Blaha, who is based in Majuro and focuses his work with MIMRA staff in tuna transshipment and other tuna-related work, said Fisheries New Zealand takes a long-term view toward developing partnerships in the region that lead to improvements in management of the fishery.
Global fish stocks are in decline, but a new tuna management scheme by the Federated States of Micronesia offers a blueprint for recovery. By working to manage half of the world’s skipjack tuna stocks sustainably, Pacific Islanders are leading the way in ensuring that fish, and people, are protected for generations to come.
A cluster of small Pacific islands is poised to make history in the management of global fish stocks. This week, when conservationists from around the world gathered at the fifth annual Our Ocean Conference in Bali, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) unveiled a bold promise and issued an even bolder challenge: full transparency in tuna fishing by 2023.
If FSM’s commitment is replicated, citizens of the Pacific could reclaim control over a natural resource that forms the backbone of the region’s economies. And it would promote future prosperity by helping to ensure that tuna stocks are fished sustainably, and that foreign vessels fishing in these waters do not take more than is permitted by law.
The mechanism that FSM and The Nature Conservancy will present this week is called the Technology for Tuna Transparency Challenge, a combination of monitoring and regional pacts aimed at improving fishing oversight. The initiative represents the first time a developing country has committed to 100% transparency in its fishery operations; if it succeeds, it could trigger a transformation of how seafood is managed worldwide.
FSM and the seven other island states that make up the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) may look like dots on the map, but they command an expanse of ocean greater than the size of Europe and are global powerhouses when it comes to fish. With control over half of the world’s supply of skipjack tuna and about a third of tuna stocks globally, the PNA is a veritable OPEC of the sea.
In FSM, efforts are already underway to use this market position as a force for good. Fish like tuna are important global commodities, but the industry is in steep decline worldwide. By committing to full transparency and pushing private partners to do the same, FSM will send a powerful signal that sustainable fishing practices are urgently needed to protect these crucial species.
But the real motivation behind FSM’s pledge lies closer to home. Tuna is more than a commodity here; it is what builds schools, pays teachers’ salaries, paves roads, and keeps hospitals open. It is the socioeconomic foundation of communities on the frontlines of climate change and rising sea levels. In other words, this is an existential fight – for the wellbeing of people today and the survival of island societies in the future.
FSM’s rich tuna fishery already provides half of the country’s income, but it could deliver even more. That is because too much of the value of tuna caught in local waters is being captured by foreign fishing fleets. Transparency is the key to bringing more of this wealth home. With electronic and human monitoring, we can stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which robs the region of more than $600 million a year. Contrary to popular belief, most poaching is not the work of pirate operators; the major culprits are licensed foreign vessels that underreport or deliberately misreport their catch.
State-of-the-art electronic monitoring will also help ensure the sustainability of fish stocks and the communities they support. Currently, a lack of reliable monitoring data makes it difficult to establish protective fishing limits, and even harder to enforce them.
To remedy this, FSM plans to deploy remote sensors, GPS systems, cameras, and tracking devices on every longline vessel in its waters within five years. This will enable the collection of information such as catch composition, discards, and bycatch, which in turn will help minimize the accidental capture of sharks, turtles, and marine mammals. Crucially, these tools will also give authorities the data to manage ocean resources in real time. By joining FSM in these efforts, the PNA could raise the bar for transparency and set a new standard for fisheries management.
We already know that cooperation and conservation can reap big rewards. For example, since PNA-member states launched the Vessel Day Scheme in 2007 – which sets limits on fishing by foreign fleets – their annual tuna earnings have increased from about $60 million to more than $500 million. Pacific fisheries ministers are hoping to raise revenue even more by working with The Nature Conservancy to co-implement a system similar to one used in western Alaska, where the Community Development Quota Program (CDQ) has helped poor communities generate income by investing in fisheries-related businesses.
The commitment to full transparency and the launch of a CDQ-type initiative for PNA states are intended to keep more tuna wealth in the Pacific. By promoting better fishing practices, we can increase regional revenue flows to rebuild and restore fisheries, boost food and job security, and strengthen resilience to climate change.
We believe that fish, marine ecosystems, and people can coexist and thrive, and that the road to sustainability runs through community empowerment. We hope this vision will be shared by FSM’s Pacific neighbors, consumer advocates, and fishing partners gathered in Bali this week. Protecting a third of the world’s tuna stocks could be just the start of the global transparency revolution needed to protect our oceans – and our future.
Managers of the world’s largest tuna fishery—in the western and central Pacific Ocean—have a chance this year to improve the sustainability of how those fish are caught and should seize that opportunity.
At issue are fish aggregating devices (FADs), which are man-made rafts deployed by purse seine vessels to attract fish. For years, fishermen have observed that tunas gather under floating objects like seaweed or logs. Starting in the 1990s, fishing crews began making their own buoyant objects and deployed them in ever-increasing numbers. For purse seiners, which encircle schools of tunas within enormous nets, FADs have increased fishing efficiency and the amount of tuna caught. Today most FADs in the region are man-made and include plastics and other synthetic materials, with buoys that transmit location and, increasingly, the amount of tuna underneath a FAD.
Fifty-four percent of the tunas caught worldwide is from waters managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), and much of that catch comes from the exclusive economic zones of eight Pacific island countries—which are also home to 90 percent of the FAD fishing within the WCPFC. Those nations are members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), which has strengthened fisheries management across the members’ collective waters.
To that end, PNA member countries have been at the forefront of efforts to better understand FAD fishing by collecting data from the transmissions of FAD buoys. According to a new analysis made possible by those efforts and prepared for the WCPFC’s Scientific Committee, an estimated 44,700 to 64,900 FADs are deployed within the WCPFC area, likely more than in any other ocean region.
The purse seine vessels using FADs primarily fish for skipjack tuna, the most common species used for canned tuna. But too few regulations are in place to ensure appropriate use of FADs, and their deployment can come at a cost to other species of tuna: Juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas, which also gather under FADs, can be caught before they reach reproductive age.
Juvenile catch isn’t the only concern: The webbing, nets, and ropes that make up FADs also entangle and kill sharks and turtles, and fishermen are not required to recover their FADs from the water.
A second recent scientific analysis, also made possible by the PNA data collection efforts and presented to the Scientific Committee, has estimated that at least 5 percent of deployed FADs wash ashore, and at least 26 percent of FADs could be considered “lost.”
A WCPFC working group is set to discuss FAD numbers, design, and possible management solutions on 3 October. Below are four recommendations the working group should send to the full Commission, which will decide at its annual meeting in December whether to increase regulation of FADs:
Decrease the limit on the number of FADs a vessel can deploy. Current rules prohibit a vessel from having more than 350 FADs in the water at any time, but that number is far too high to improve sustainability of the region’s tuna fishery.
Require that FADs be built in a way that results in a lowest risk of entanglement of marine animals to minimize the deaths of sharks and turtles. Such designs are being used with success in other ocean areas without affecting catches of targeted tunas.
Require that natural and biodegradable materials be used in the construction of rafts and FAD appendages (the material hanging below each device), and prioritize work to identify solutions to prevent FAD buoys from becoming marine debris.
Recommend extending the working group’s agenda to next year to investigate policies to better control and retrieve FADs, as well as alternative options to manage tuna catch in the purse seine fishery.
Taking these steps would be in line with the WCPFC Scientific Committee’s advice. In August, scientists on that committee expressed concern about the number of beached and lost FADs, and the potential impacts of high device densities on tuna populations. The committee recommended fewer deployments; use of biodegradable, non-entangling, and environmentally friendly designs; and better measures for control and retrieval.
Although fisheries managers worldwide have been slow to act, momentum is growing. Last year, representatives of FAD working groups from the Atlantic, eastern Pacific, and Indian oceans met to spark the beginnings of joint action. Their discussion was preceded by a meeting of a Global FAD Science Symposium, which included participants with expertise in WCPFC fisheries and identified proven and promising mitigation strategies, some of which the WCPFC working group is considering.
It is now up to the entire Commission to heed the advice of its own scientists, recognize the identified best practices, and adopt strategies appropriate to the western and central Pacific. Compared to some of the other tuna regional fisheries management organizations, the WCPFC lags in the adoption of strategies to mitigate some of the impacts of FADs. Given the significance and size of its fisheries, the WCPFC has a chance to set a new standard for safeguarding the health and sustainability of tunas and the greater marine ecosystem.
Dave Gershman is an officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ global tuna conservation program.