18 Dec 2018

Tokelau headed for resource crisis - study

12:48 pm on 18 December 2018

A new study has found Tokelau may be headed for a resource crisis soon, as it battles the forces of climate change.

Nukunonu, Tokelau

Nukunonu, Tokelau Photo: RNZ PACIFIC / MACKENZIE SMITH

The findings came in a report released last week from researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia.

The researchers found decreasing stocks of reef fishes within Tokelau's waters could threaten access to fresh seafood.

That, combined with reduced land based food production and an uptake in imported goods, is expected to damage food security in the territory.

The study said a potential surge in pelagic fishes could lead to increases in Tokelau's revenue from fisheries leases.

But it said these economic gains provided no direct benefit to the traditional Tokelauan lifestyle.

The researchers said Tokelau should instead control and restrict the expansion of industrial fisheries in its waters.

They said New Zealand should provide assistance with this.

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