TONGA HOSTS REGIONAL FISHERIES WORKSHOP

News Release

Tonga Now Government of Tonga Nukualofa, Tonga July 17, 2007

Fisheries experts throughout the pacific region have gathered in Tonga’s Nuku’alofa to consider a Guide to Implementing an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management within the Western and Central Pacific Region.

Consultants and Officers from the Forum Fisheries Agency FFA and South Pacific Commission SPC are in Tonga to host the workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and the relevant bodies in Tonga on developing fisheries management bearing in mind the concerns of the important components.

FFA Consultant Bernard Thoulog says the consultation in Nuku’alofa is a follow up on one that was held earlier in the year.

"The purpose is to development of management of the fisheries to include environmental, social and economic prospects of it. Previously we’ve just been concentrating on fishery itself but through out the region there is attempt to manage fishery by looking at all the components involved," said Thoulog.

According to Thoulog there are two stages where the first stage was the scoping and outlining what needs to be done and this is the second stage.

In this one we hope to develop those further in to a report to be used by the fisheries dept for the review of their Tuna Management Plan," he said.

Also taking part in this workshop is Dr. Brett Molony a Fisheries Scientist from SPC. He says SPC’s contribution is helping Tonga and other countries in presenting summaries and analyzing trends in fisheries data which he will be presenting in the workshop.

The data that we collect and we use is from the fishermen themselves it’s log sheet data from observers and port samplers that we manage through Tongan fishery so I’m simply using their data and to let them see how their data on whether it’s what they’re seeing in the water as well," said Dr. Molony.

Dr. Molony adds that climate change is an important issue to address in this workshop.

"We all know changes in season occur and this also happen in fish and how they move through the waters in the pacific including Tonga’s waters we know there are peak periods and bad periods for yellow fin or albacore and just recently we’ve seen along period of quite neutral conditions not really Al-Nino or La-Nina and this has affected the way the water moves and there for the way the fishes move," he said.

Dr. Molony says that no one can precisely do anything about climate change but what we can do is think of a way of helping the fleet and the fishery with those periods of time in climate changes. The workshop will end tomorrow.

Tonga Now, formerly operated by the Government of Tonga’s Reform Information Office, is currently operated by Kalia Media Serivces, which provides media responses and information about Tonga from the Government.

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