A SHORT HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL FISHING IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS

A SHORT HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL FISHING IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS

RAP PUBLICATION 2007/22

A SHORT HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL FISHING IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS

by

Robert Gillett

The Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC)


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FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
REGIONAL OFFICE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Bangkok, 2007

The designation and presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.

NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for sale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Senior Fishery Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Athit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.

FAO 2007


For copies write to:   

The Senior Fishery Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200
THAILAND
Tel: (+66) 2 697 4000
Fax: (+66) 2 697 4445
E-mail:FAO-RAP@fao.org

 

Cover photographs:
Tuna boats Koror harbour, Palau (Simon Funge-Smith)
Tuna catch (Bob Gillett)

FOREWORD

This document presents a summary and review of the development of industrial fisheries in the Pacific Islands. The Pacific Islands are, from a fisheries perspective, rather undeveloped and the development of industrial fisheries has generated both revenue and food security for the region. It has also granted access to the vast offshore areas associated with this region. The inshore region still serves as the basis for small-scale subsistence and artisanal fisheries.

Industrial fisheries in the Pacific Islands region have almost exclusively been associated with the tuna resources. Similarly, most industrial-scale opportunities for the foreseeable future are likely to be tuna-related. The industrial tuna fisheries today are by far the greatest fisheries in the region, almost ten times greater than the other fisheries combined. The main tuna fishery is purse-seines with 191 boats from 19 different countries, including four distant water fishing nations.

The history of industrial fishing development has not been without problems. In almost all cases of government-owned tuna fishing companies have not been successful or have failed. A general consensus in the region is that large and complex fishing operations cannot be effectively operated by government and that private sector concerns are more flexible and effective in this regard. Government roles seem best suited to ensuring appropriate policy environments and the increasing effectiveness of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations will see this becoming an increasingly important function in the future.


He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific


TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
INTRODUCTION
TUNA FISHING
PRE-WORLD WAR II
POST-WORLD WAR II
CHANGE IN THE 1960s AND 1970s
TUNA PURSE-SEINING
RECENT POLE-AND-LINE AND LONGLINE DEVELOPMENTS
THE TUNA CANNERIES
SOME THOUGHTS OF HISTORICAL PATTERNS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDUSTRIAL FISHING IN THE REGION
SHRIMP TRAWLING IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
OTHER EXPERIENCE WITH INDUSTRIAL FISHING
REFERENCES