Vanuatu Cyclone Recovery Hindered By ‘Fish Kills’

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

High temperatures causing die offs in shallows

By Sally Round

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 18, 2016) – As Vanuatu struggles to cope with minimal food crops in the wake of last year's Cyclone Pam, the soaring temperatures are now impacting fish stocks.

'Fish kills' occur when the water temperature does not decrease enough during high tide, and the fish swimming in the shallows can't survive.

Thousands of fish have been washed ashore in Fiji and Vanuatu in the last few days.

Rocky Kaku is with the Vanuatu Fisheries Department and said people on the island of Efate were worried about their livelihoods.

"They are quite worried about the fish, which some of them benefit for their livelihood, they use the fish for food and so since we are in the hot season they are quite worried about what they will eat and what they will make money out of in the coming months or future."

Mr Kaku said the government had allowed fish aggregation devices to be set up for local boat owners as well as fishermen who did not have boats, so to avoid fishing on coral reefs, which had also been damaged.

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