2 Dec 2015

Small island nations enjoying income boom from fish licences

2:27 pm on 2 December 2015
The Marshalls fisheries department director Glen Joseph said he is happy to see that the purse seine fishing industry has begun taking action to modify fishing gear to reduce by catch of bigeye tuna. Here, a purse seiner off loads its tuna catch in Majuro.

A purse seiner off loads its tuna catch in Majuro Photo: RNZI / Giff Johnson

Despite a global downturn in commodity prices, small island countries of the Pacific are enjoying steady growth rates.

The Asian Development Bank's new Pacific Economic Monitor says increased fishing licence fees have helped small island states increase their revenues and return budget surpluses.

A lead economist with the ADB, Christopher Edmonds, launched the report in Auckland yesterday and said the smaller countries are handling the boom well by putting the extra income in sovereign funds rather than looking to spend.

"Tuna licence revenues which is very important to some of the smallest countries like Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands in the north. Wisely a lot of these countries are doing what economies recommend which is to, when you have a short-term boom, put that away into a sovereign wealth fund that you can draw on when predictably, prices are going to come down."

Christopher Edmonds says countries should also foresee that the supply of tuna is not endless, despite current trends.