Recent Pole-and-Line and Longline Developments

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In the past two decades, there have also been significant changes in the pole-and-line and longline fisheries. Pole-and-line fleets were established at various times in the 1970s and early 1980s in most of the countries of the western part of the Pacific. This was primarily because of the live bait situation without sufficient live bait supplies, pole-and-line is not feasible and these resources are more prevalent around the mainly large islands in the west of the region. The only pole-and-line vessels based in the Pacific Islands at present are those in the dwindling fleet of ageing vessels in the Solomon Islands. The decline of pole-and-line vessels has been due to a variety of factors, including:

With respect to tuna longlining, the two most important changes in the Pacific Islands in the last two decades have been:

Chapman (2004) estimates there were about 1900 longline vessels operating in the region in mid-2002, about half of which were based in Pacific Island countries/territories. Figure 5 gives the industrial tuna catches by gear type in the region for the past several decades.

Figure 5: Industrial tuna catches in the Pacific Islands area, 1970 to 2003

Source: SPC unpublished data.

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