9 Jul 2013

Increased competition for tuna in Pacific

9:35 pm on 9 July 2013

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says the increased competition for tuna is causing tension between local fishers and industrial vessels around some Pacific Islands.

The organisation is working to identify the extent of the problem and look at any steps that could resolve the issue.

Dr Shelton Harley, from the Oceanic Fisheries Programme at SPC, says more fish are being taken than ever before by industrial fleets, and catches are being taken closer to small-scale fishing grounds.

He says it's bringing both sides in direct competition and striking a balance between the two won't be easy.

"There is an area where all parties can be happy but at the end of the day it's a really tricky question because for some of our countries more than 50 percent of their income comes from fisheries so trading that off against the livelihoods of small scale fisherman is something which is really difficult to do."

Dr Shelton Harley says in some cases the increased use of fish aggregating devices means industrial vessels are accidentally catching more of the other species important to the artisanal fisheries.