FFA supports development of pole and line fishing in PNG and Solomon Islands through DEVFISH

PACIFIC TUNA FORUM, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 2-3 SEPTEMBER 2009: FFA’s assistance to PNG and Solomon Islands to help them establish new pole and line fishing ventures is being profiled by the Pacific Tuna Forum today and tomorrow.

FFA Fisheries Development Adviser Robert Stone today presented information about the assistance to a workshop on pole and line fishing, which is being marketed as sustainable fishing to European and British supermarkets. Pole and line fishing is also an industry that creates local employment, on average 10 boats employing 25 crew each catch the same amount of tuna as one purse seiner employing around 12 people.

In Papua New Guinea, FFA, through the EU-funded DEVFISH project, provided a pilot study into the establishment of pole and line fishing including needs such as establishing supplies of bait, infrastructure and processing and marketing opportunities for New Ireland Province.

In Solomon Islands, FFA, through the EU-funded DEVFISH project, conducted a study to look at what was needed to establish pole and line fishing in the country including necessary infrastructure, supplies and marketing arrangements. Recommendations were accepted by the Solomon Islands Government which wrote a letter to FFA requesting assistance to help implement recommendations and allocated $2million Solomon Island Dollars for establishment of the pole and line industry. Discussions with the fishing industry, government and FFA are currently being held to take the recommendations forward.

FFA Fisheries Development Adviser Robert Stone said: “European buyers are encouraging countries that have tuna resources to go back to pole and line fishing. It is an industry suitable for development in countries with high numbers of workers such as PNG and Solomon Islands. So, if countries can make the market links to ensure the demand is there for pole and line caught tuna, they can create more local jobs and income and help alleviate unemployment and poverty.”

FFA has provided assistance to do a preliminary study into whether pole and line tuna fishing can be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as sustainable, and should the pole and line tuna fishery seek certification further support would be available.

The Development of Tuna Fisheries in the Pacific ACP Countries Project (DEVFISH) is a European Union funded regional project, which encourages governments to make policy changes that can make it easier for local Pacific fishing industries to grow and profit.

Activities to achieve this goal include analysis, consultation and training at the regional level on shared and common aspects of tuna development. On the national level, DEVFISH supports a range of activities such as strengthening fish producers' associations and improving consultation between private sector and Government, helping with seafood safety requirements for access to European markets and creating national plans for development.