Fijian Government recognises stressed fisheries resources

Ministry of Fisheries PS Craig Strong. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Government recognises that Fiji’s fisheries resources — in particular the coastal fisheries — are under severe stress.

Permanent secretary for Ministry of Fisheries Craig Strong said during a workshop in Suva, last week, that the situation was a result of a combination of over and illegal fishing, population growth and the effects of climate change, which led to rising sea temperatures, species migration, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching.

He was speaking at the Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Standards and Marine Stewardship Council(MSC) Chain of Custody/Traceability in Fiji’s Tuna Longline Industry Workshop.

One of the objectives of the workshop was to train industry stakeholders in the field of MSC fisheries standards and chain of custody requirements and traceability, to ensure Fiji’s albacore and yellowfin MSC certification within its exclusive economic zone and adjacent high seas were managed, audited and maintained according to MSC standards.

Mr Strong said in order to mitigate those issues, the Government established a dedicated Inshore Fisheries Management Division in 2017.

“This has allowed us to strengthen governance structures in coastal fisheries,” he said.

“With this division, we have implemented stronger and effective management measures for key coastal fisheries species.”

He said Fiji’s offshore fisheries was governed by a robust licensing and monitoring regime, adding ocean science was critical if Fiji was to make the right decisions that governed the commercial sustainability of its oceans.

Mr Strong also highlighted that Fiji was making good progress in MSC certification with 55 vessels certified for albacore and yellowfin tuna caught in Fiji waters and adjacent high seas.

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