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SPC and FFA work with Niue on catch limits
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 09:06

While purse seining and skipjack tuna are the critical species for many of the equatorial Pacific Island countries, south Pacific albacore tuna is the key species for many of those south Pacific Island countries like Niue. Niue and other members of subregional groups such as Te Vaka Moana have been concerned at the recent expansion of fishing activity in the region on albacore tuna and are looking at ways to strengthen the management arrangements.

As one step in achieving this goal, Niue convened a workshop on the 20-23 August 2012 to set Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for the key tuna stocks that are found in their waters. This workshop was supported by representatives from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, and Dr Shelton Harley attended on behalf of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Over the four days, officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (DAFF), and other stakeholder groups met to discuss regional status of the regional tuna stocks and recent trends in the tuna fisheries. This information, plus detailed analyses of recent fishing activities in Niue plus the results from large scale ecosystem models, were used to inform deliberations of potential TACs for the main tuna species.

Director for DAFF, Mr Brendan Pasisi, indicated that setting of limits was an important step for Niue that would help it improve the returns that it is able to receive from its share of the tuna resources. These limits would also be important for negotiations within the context of the WCPFC. It is important that the special requirements of small island developing states are taken into account when we are managing and allocating our resources.

The workshop attracted local media attention and interviews with key meeting participants were broadcast by the local television network. 

Decisions about the  future management of the south Pacific albacore stock will occur in Manila in December 2012 when the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission convenes its ninth session.

Funding for SPC’s involvement in this workshop was provided by the European Union through the SciCOFISH project and from the New Zealand Aid Programme.

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