12 May 2016

World Bank says Pacific can earn much more from tuna

2:04 pm on 12 May 2016

A new World Bank report says better management of tuna fisheries can help Pacific countries earn up to $US344 million annually.

It says this could create up to 15,000 jobs by 2040.

Called 'The Pacific Possible: Tuna Fisheries report' it has been released at a meeting of Forum Fisheries committee in Port Vila.

It outlines a best-case scenario for the year 2040, where tuna fisheries will play a greater role in the region's economic growth.

The report recommends five policy strategies: more regional integration; efficient fishing practices and catch limits; flexible access and harvest rights for fleets; investment in skills and labour; and the inclusion of coastal communities in fisheries planning.

A Duke University researcher, John Virdin, says the key challenge for Pacific countries is to sustainably harness a greater share of the benefits from their tuna fisheries without depleting stocks.

He says this can be achieved by maintaining firm and shared catch limits, and by increasing economic value through collaborative access regimes such as the vessel day scheme.

Frozen albacore tuna offloaded in Lami, Fiji

Frozen albacore tuna offloaded in Lami, Fiji Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley