PORT MORESBY, (THE NATIONAL)—The influx of overseas fishing fleets in Pacific waters is putting stress on fish stocks which requires greater resource management by nations in the Nauru agreement, an economist says.
PNG Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker said: “The fishing fleets have been growing, particularly the Chinese fleet, which used to operate largely in the China Sea but has extended much further afield.
“This is putting greater stress on fish stocks, with some species, including yellow-fin, under greater pressure, but less so the populous smaller species, skipjack.
“This requires effective resource management, particularly by the resource owning nations, notably the member nations of the Nauru agreement, including Papua New Guinea.
“The resource has been calculated as having a sustainable annual harvest of US$6 billion (K21.12billion) a year.”
Barker said little of that benefit accrued to the Pacific Island nations, with the harvest largely fished and processed by vessels and in factories of the distant water fishing nations, notably in Asia, but also the United States and Europe.
He said tuna stock in the Western and Central Pacific was the largest in the world.
“Other major industries operate in the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, but the largest portion of the Pacific stock is found in PNG to Kiribati waters, migrating more towards Micronesian waters during the El Nino years, and more into PNG waters most years,” he said.
“The stocks stretch across to the Solomon Island waters and across the region,” he said….PACNEWS