[Press-releases] Press release - Fish - a key to future food security in the Pacifi
RositaH at spc.int
Wed Nov 14 00:46:51 EST 2007
Fish - a key to future food security in the Pacific
Tuesday 13 November 2007, 5th Pacific Community Conference, Apia, Samoa
- A highlight of the 5th Pacific Community Conference - whose theme was
'The future of Pacific fisheries' organised jointly by the Forum
Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community
(SPC) - was the widespread agreement that careful planning is needed to
provide fish for food security.
The World Food Summit defined food security as the physical, social and
economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet dietary
The urgency of this issue emerged during the presentation of a joint
study by SPC's Planning Unit and Public Health, Statistics and
Demography, Coastal Fisheries and Oceanic Fisheries programmes.
The SPC team identified how much fish needs to be eaten for a healthy
diet, how much is being eaten in the region now, and how much will be
needed for food security in the region in 2030.
The results confirm that much of the Pacific is still extraordinarily
dependent on fish. In many Pacific Island countries and territories
(PICTs), fish makes up 70-90 per cent of total animal protein intake.
Other important findings were that most of the fish used for food comes
from subsistence fishing, and that fish consumption in most PICTs well
exceeds the level required for good nutrition (which is an average of 35
kg per person per year).
'The challenge for national planners is to ensure that growing
populations have access to the fish they need for food security,' said
Dr Johann Bell, Fisheries Specialist in the SPC Planning Unit. 'In rural
areas, fish needs to be made available so that households can catch or
produce it themselves, while in urban centres it needs to be supplied at
The amount of fish needed for future food security will be much greater
than most people realise. In Melanesia alone, coastal and urban
populations will need 275,000 tonnes of fish for food by 2030. The
sobering reality is that even well-managed coastal fisheries will not
always be able to provide the fish required.
'Preliminary analysis shows a large shortfall between the needs for fish
in 2030 and the estimated sustainable production from coastal fisheries
for 12 of the 22 PICTs,' said Dr Bell.
Lindsay Chapman, Manager of the Coastal Fisheries Programme at SPC,
urged PICTs to manage their inshore resources within sustainable bounds:
'Otherwise, the gap to be filled will be even greater.'
Mr Chapman described simple technology that PICTs can apply to increase
the supply of other sources of fish. 'Our region is blessed with tuna -
all we have to do is find a way for subsistence fishers to catch it.
New, low-cost inshore fish aggregating devices [FADs], deployed close
enough to shore so that people can paddle to them, provide the answer in
Ross Cain from the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority
brought Mr Chapman's assertion to life. Mr Cain explained how local
fishers had harvested more than 8 tonnes of tuna and other pelagic
species in three months from inshore FADs located within 1 km of the
shore around Nauru. 'The value of the catches already far exceeds the
cost of the FADs, and fish that is surplus to food needs is being sold
on local markets,' he said.
The Conference heard that small pond aquaculture is the other way for
village people to produce the fish they will need. 'Provided this simple
technology can be applied at minimum risk to biodiversity, it has great
potential to help meet future food security in PICTs with adequate fresh
water,' said Mr Chapman. 'Families in Papua New Guinea and Fiji are
already making good harvests of fish from ponds of 100-200 square
The Conference endorsed a series of recommendations on planning and
managing the fisheries of the Pacific, including the need for FFA and
SPC to take a long-term strategic approach to ensure that fishery
resources are effectively managed to provide enduring economic, social
and cultural benefits for the people of the region.
>From left to right are: Mr Ross Cain (front row), Deputy Chief Executive
Officer, Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority; Mr Atonio
Mulipola, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Samoa Ministry of
Agriculture and Fisheries, Honourable Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau, Samoa
Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Conference Chairman
(front row); Dr Johann Bell, Fisheries Specialist, SPC Planning Unit; Mr
Len Rodwell (front row), Director of Fisheries Development, Forum
Fisheries Agency; Mr Lindsay Chapman, SPC Coastal Fisheries Programme
For more information, contact Rosita Hoffmann, SPC Communications and
Public Relations Adviser, via email: RositaH at spc.int or by phone: +685
7222324. You can also check the SPC website at www.spc.int.
SPC's governing council is the Conference of the Pacific Community,
which meets every two years. In years when the Conference does not meet,
the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations
(CRGA - a committee of the Conference) is empowered to make decisions.
The Government of Samoa is hosting the 2007 meetings of the SPC
governing body in Apia: the 37th Meeting of CRGA (7-9 November 2007) and
the 5th Conference of the Pacific Community (12-13 November 2007). The
5th Conference is also the 60th Anniversary Conference of SPC, as 2007
marks SPC's 60th year of service to the Pacific region.
SPC member countries and territories: American Samoa, Australia, Cook
Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, France, French
Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New
Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea,
Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United
States of America, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
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