Inshore fisheries support livelihoods, food security, nutrition and dietary health throughout the islands of Tuvalu. The Coastal Fisheries Division is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of these resources now and into the future. Because Tuvalu’s legislation essentially places control of inshore fisheries in the hands of local government, the Coastal Fisheries Division needs to work closely with the Kaupule to achieve its goals.
Because of its high population concentration and relatively high degree of urbanisation, the fisheries management needs and issues in Funafuti are somewhat different than those of the outer islands. This is recognised in the organisational structure of the Coastal Fisheries Division, which has separate sub-units to deal with Funafuti and on the outer islands, as well as a third sub-unit which focuses on resource assessment and monitoring.
The Division will focus its 2015 work programme on the following activities:
- Creel and market surveys to document volumes and types of fish caught on each island;
- Ongoing collection of fishery catch data in outer islands. The TFD currently employs 8 contract data collectors on all islands except Niulakita;
- Sampling of water quality and abundance of ciguatera-causing algae in Funafuti lagoon;
- Re-establishment and enforcement of the Funafuti lagoon conservation area;
- Resource assessment visits to each outer island;
- Follow-up consultations with each outer-island community to formulate and implement fishery management and development plans;
- Development of appropriate fishery management arrangements in Funafuti;
- Development of a national beche-de-mer fishery management plan;
- TFD staff professional development in areas of data collection, storage and analysis, dive safety and other relevant topics.
Some of the Coastal Fisheries Division’s activities will be ongoing or routine, including consultations with the Funafuti kaupule and other stakeholders, sampling of water quality, ciguatera and fishermen’s catches in Funafuti, and ongoing tuna fishery data collection in the outer islands. However a number of milestone tasks for 2015 are identified in table 3 overleaf.
Extra hands will be needed to carry out resource survey and assessment field work in Funafuti and in the outer islands. In 2015 arrangements will be investigated under which trained fishery observers can assist the Coastal Fisheries team when not engaged in duties for the Oceanic Fisheries Division.
Work in the outer islands will require reliable transportation, accommodation and work facilities. It is anticipated that these will be provided by the new vessel to be procured under the NAPA2/ R2R projects by mid-2015. The rate of progress with the outer islands component of the work programme will depend in large part on the speed of the procurement process for this vessel.