Republished from Radio New Zealand, 3 September 2018

Reaping greater economic benefit from regional fisheries is expected to be high on the agenda at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Nauru this week.

Large-scale and small-scale fishing in the waters off Madang in Papua New Guinea.
Credit: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Increasing the yield of the Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery shows the greatest potential for growth.

The Pacific tuna fishery provides 60 percent of the global catch with around two-thirds of it coming from Forum countries’ waters.

The Forum Fisheries Agency, or FFA, reports positive economic growth figures within these fisheries.

However, Pacific stakeholders say more can be done.

FFA figures show two-thirds of the catch is taken by foreign vessels and as much as 90 percent of the fish is processed overseas.

A joint regional taskforce has been set up to tackle these areas and extract more value through longline fishery reform and value chain participation.

Increasing ways to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing will also be a focus and one that underpins the new regional security framework, the Biketawa Plus, which may be ratified on Nauru.