13 Aug 2014

Pacific food security uncertainty festers

9:58 pm on 13 August 2014

Western Pacific fisheries officials say without an accurate assessment of the level of tuna stocks, there is uncertainty about food security and long term survival in the Pacific.

There is a big gap in information because Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China are refusing to provide their operational catch data to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

RNZI's Marshall Islands correspondent, Giff Johnson, who has been speaking to fisheries officials, says scientists have found that bigeye tuna has been reduced to just 16 percent of its original population levels.

But he says without the data from the Asian countries, it's impossible to tell if the situation has improved, or worsened.

"What the fisheries director for the Marshall Islands, Glen Joseph told me, this uncertainty has a major impact on Pacific Islands who see the tuna resource as food security, as part of sustainable development, and just basically their own survival into the long term."

Giff Johnson.