The Pacific island regions’ coastal fisheries produces a little over 100,000 tonnes of fish and seafood products per year.
The fisheries industry is amongst the top income earners for many, if not all, of the Pacific island countries.
They are very significant in providing food, income, and employment for Pacific islanders.
An ever increasing demand for fish and marine products is leading to severe exploitation, resulting in collapsing fish stocks and wider ecosystem damage.
This demand is further exacerbated by the loss of coastal habitats from expanding urban development, pollution, and the growing impacts of climate change and acidification.
Despite Pacific Island fisheries and planning officials having a greater understanding of these issues, they have been slow to employ corrective or mitigating action due to a lack of resources, both human and financial.
With better data and support, they could have a better understanding of what species are under threat. With fewer resources, fisheries management is localised to top earners, such as tuna, while inshore fisheries are ignored.
It is important to create a balanced approach to future fisheries management.
We are supporting local communities to ensure greater participation and representation of women in the protection, management, and conservation of coastal habitats. This is essential for the development of sustainable and alternative pathways to provide security of food production and livelihoods, to effectively co-manage the protection of marine resources, and influence policy for coastal communities.
WWF is introducing tools Pacific communities can use to monitor the health of their fisheries, while supporting communities to develop fisheries management plans and build the capacity of communities to establish sustainable businesses.
To achieve this, we work with governments, other NGOs, corporations, indigenous, and community groups.