Dates / Project duration
July 2018 - June 2022 / 4 years
Conservation of endangered species
The Nature Conservancy?
The Salomon Islands are made up of 900 small islands spread over a large geographical area and their fisheries produce close to 5% of the world’s tuna supply. The industry generates essential income thanks to the rights of access paid by foreign fishing vessels, supports a national tuna fleet and provides thousands of local jobs.
However, these fisheries are heavily exploited, and few management measures are implemented to encourage the industry to adopt a more sustainable approach. This pressure is aggravated by illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.
Moreover, the current fishing methods – particularly in longline fishing – result in by-catches of vulnerable marine species, including sea turtles, sharks and rays. These catches not only threaten the species on an individual basis but could also have repercussions on the entire food chain and affect all the region’s marine ecosystems in this global biodiversity hotspot.
If these trends are not reversed, they will have devastating consequences on marine species, as well as on the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the inhabitants of the Salomon Islands.
With tuna fisheries on the verge of collapse, the time has come for action. The purpose of this project, organised in cooperation with the government of the Salomon Islands, is to encourage tuna fleets, which have been operating in the Pacific with impunity for decades, to become production partners in the development of commercial models that improve fishing sustainability.
It will build on promising advances in technology and data analysis in order to provide an opportunity:
- To managers to ensure the compliance of their fleet,
- To nations that are the main end markets for tuna to stop unverified fish at their borders,
- To markets to reward responsible fishermen for delivering healthy and sustainable sea produce from soundly managed tuna fisheries.
The project will thus enable us to consolidate management practices, improve monitoring of fishing vessel compliance with the regulations in force and offer fishermen the training they lack to enable them to manipulate then release vulnerable incidental catches. This model could then be replicated in fisheries across the Pacific, including the Marshall Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Indonesia.