South Pacific Community Calls For Better Coastal Resources Management

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Member countries encouraged to adopt sustainable use plan

By Pesi Fonua

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, August 22, 2014) – The Secretariat of the South Pacific Community (SPC) is encouraging its Pacific Island members to adopt a fisheries management plan that ensures sustainable use of coastal resources.

It stated that marine environments in small Pacific Island states are suffering from the negative impacts of activities on the land.

"On small Pacific Islands, the marine environment is gradually being damaged by the impact of activities on land: poorly managed farming or mining leads to erosion, which slits up the lagoons and reefs. Changes in water temperature, brought about by climate change, are also altering marine habitats, reducing their capacity to host fish populations," the SPC Secretariat stated.

"The consequences of overfishing can be seen even on a small isolated coral island because the population’s food needs increase as the community grows in number. Certain very high-added-value species that are exported are now being overfished, and fishers continually expand their fishing grounds."

The SPC pointed out a sustainable fisheries plan on the Island of Pakin in the Federated States of Micronesia.

"On Pakin, the community worked with a team of representatives from various government offices and environmental organisations to formulate a fisheries management plan. And since it is impossible to separate coastal and land issues, the Pakin management plan covers the whole ecosystem in an integrated manner: waste management, controlling coastal fishing and banning certain practices and gear, developing deep-sea fishing and near-shore pelagics, strengthening the island’s pearl-oyster farming project and developing backyard farming and agriculture."

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