|INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN SOLOMON ISLANDS1|
LOCATION AND MAIN LANDING PLACES
industrial tuna catch is landed mainly at the two tuna canneries at
Tulagi and Noro, while the semi-industrial locally-based longline fleet
unloads its catch in
from small-scale fisheries are estimated to be about 16,200 t in 1999
of which about 80% and 20% came from subsistence and commercial fisheries,
respectively. These landings are made in rural fishing centres, urban
centres and rural areas around the country, although a good deal of
the commercial catch is subsequently transported to
Estimated landings by principal site (tonnes)
SECTOR OVERVIEW: BROAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
The Fisheries Act 1998 states: “The objective
of fisheries management and development in
The following management objectives are quoted from the Solomon Islands Fisheries Division’s Policy Statement (1994):
Overview of governmental management strategy
The Solomon Islands Fisheries Division’s Policy
Statement (1994) comments on the broad strategies: “The overall strategy
shall be to develop and manage in cooperation with provincial authorities
(where applicable) the exploitation of all fisheries resources found
within the fishery limits in such a manner as to secure optimal social
and economic benefits for the people of Solomon Islands”.
In general terms, the following management systems are presently used:
DESCRIPTION OF MAIN MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR MAJOR FISHERIES
Offshore tuna fisheries
management system for tuna in the
· Skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis
· Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares
· Bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus
· Albacore, Thunnus alalunga
Other species are also included under certain conditions. Non-target by-catch species caught during tuna fishing operations are included, as well as species used as live bait for pole/line tuna fishing.
The four tuna species are also covered under several regional management arrangements and soon under one international management arrangement. The regional management arrangements are:
Solomon Islands is a signatory to the Convention
on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in
the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, but the convention is not yet
in force, nor have the details of management mechanisms been articulated.
specific objectives of management of tuna fisheries as stated in Solomon Islands National Tuna Management
and Development Plan are firstly, to ensure
that the tuna resources in Solomon Islands waters are not exploited
beyond their optimum sustainable yields and that the risk of their being
exploited beyond their maximum biologically-sustainable levels is never
more than minimal. The second objective is, within the limit set by
the optimal sustainable yields of the tuna resources, to maximize the
sustainable benefits received by
are two main measures used in the management of the tuna resources of
· Archipelagic waters and Territorial waters combined (including all Provincial waters) other than those of the Main Group Archipelago (MGA),
· An MGA Area, including the Archipelagic waters of the Main Group Archipelago, the Territorial waters which surround that archipelago, and a portion of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Solomon Islands extending to 30 nautical miles seaward of the archipelagic baseline around the Main Group Archipelago,
· Certain parts of the Archipelagic waters and Territorial waters within the MGA Area that are open to purse seining under restrictive conditions,
· An Offshore Area, comprising all of Solomon Islands waters outside of Archipelagic waters, Territorial waters and the waters of the MGA Area, and
An area open to purse seiners
fishing under the Multilateral Treaty.
It is difficult at the present time to judge the performance of these two
management measures. The civil disturbances that have plagued the country
since 1999 have caused a breakdown of government institutions, including
those responsible for fisheries management. In these circumstances it
is understandable that the government gives higher priority to maintaining
law/order and promoting social stability than to pursuing tuna management
According the Solomon Islands National Tuna Management and Development Plan, the institutional relationships dealing with the management measures are as follows:
With respect to enforcement, the Fisheries Act 1989 states that the Director
of Fisheries, Principal Licensing Officer and such licensing officers,
fisheries officers and other authorized officers are responsible for
fisheries enforcement. In the field, police officers aboard
Information for management decisions dealing with tuna is acquired through
various means. Tuna fishing vessels
are required to record and submit logbook forms containing position,
effort, and catch information. This
routinely-collected data is processed and analyzed by the Research
and Resource Management Section of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine
Resources. The data is also forwarded to the Oceanic Fisheries Programme
of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community where it is combined with
similar information from neighboring countries to provide a regional
perspective to the
to the offshore tuna fisheries, the management of small-scale commercial
fisheries is much less structured. In addition, the management arrangements
are national or provincial in character, rather than bilateral or regional.
The target stocks of these fisheries are reef-associated finfish, beche de mer, trochus, giant clam, lobster, and turbo. About 180 species of reef finfish fish, from 30 families, are caught by the small-scale rural fisheries. The catch is comprised mostly of Lutjanids (snappers), Serranids (groupers and rock cods), Lethrinids (emperors), Scombrids (mackerels) and Carangids (trevallies).
Specific management goals for the small-scale
commercial fisheries have not been articulated, but it can be assumed
that the objectives of management interventions are consistent with
those given in the Fisheries Act 1989. That is, that the resources are
to be “managed, developed and conserved so as to ensure through proper conservation
and management measures that the maintenance of those resources are
not endangered by over-exploitation and are utilised at a level that
shall ensure their optimum sustainable yield”.
To attain the above objectives for the small-scale commercial fisheries, the major strategies are applied:
The Fisheries Act 1998 gives the measures that may be taken to manage these fisheries:
In practice, all of the above measures are presently
used in the management of the small-scale commercial fisheries of the
Solomon Islands. The effectiveness
of the various measures is strongly related to the ease of enforcement
of the specific measure.
A recent World Bank survey of coastal resource management in the in the
Solomon Islands made conclusions on the effectiveness of the various
management measures. For those
national laws which can be
enforced and are enforced
through buyers and/or exporters (ie. trochus minimum sizes, ban on export
of crocodile skins) the effectiveness is good.
Measures associated with marine turtles appear to have the worst
respect to the institutional arrangements for management of the small-scale
commercial fisheries, the national government has established certain
principles of fisheries management to be used throughout the Solomon
Islands in the Fisheries Act 1989. Each
Provincial Assembly may make ordinances not inconsistent
with the Act or any regulations made under the Act, for the regulation
of fisheries within its provincial waters. There is joint national/provincial enforcement
of legislation. Some
fishery resources (such as turtles and crocodiles) are managed by the
Environment and Conservation Department.
At the national level the stakeholder input into the management arrangements
is through the Fisheries Advisory Council and through the elected representatives
to parliament. There are various
forms of stakeholder input at the provincial level, depending on the
functioning of the provincial fishery services and as stipulated in
Information for management decisions is obtained in a variety of ways. These include:
The subsistence fisheries of the Solomon Islands
exploit a wide variety of species, most of which are located on the
reef, nearshore marine areas, and in inter-tidal mangrove areas. Finfish, various gastropods, giant clam, and lobster,
are the major species groups exploited by the subsistence fisheries.
there is no specific government articulation of objectives in the management
of subsistence fisheries, it is generally understood that safeguarding
the resources to enable them to continue their contribution to the food
supply of villagers is the key objective.
The management strategy is to allow customary fishing rights holder to manage the
exploitation of resources in areas under customary jurisdiction, which
is almost all of the inshore areas of the country outside of Honiara. The specific management measures vary from area
to area, but many of the systems involve community
leaders restricting access by outsiders, as well as various kinds of
harvest bans for residents. Reduction
fishing effort to prevent over-exploitation of resources is often, but
not always, the intent of these measures.
It is generally thought that customary management works reasonably
well in the Solomon Island context. The measures used are usually able
to protect village fishery food supplies from the major threats. It
also should be noted that, given the realties of what the national government
is able to provide, there are few viable alternatives to customary management.
The major difficulty encountered with customary fisheries management
in the Solomon Islands concerns threats which cannot be addressed at
the site level, such as the downstream effects of logging.
of customary management is generally carried out by the residents of
the management area concerned. The enforcement is generally more effective
when directed at outsiders, as opposed to residents of the area concern. The government is also involved; the Fisheries
Act 1989 states: “When
it is proved that customary fishing rights have been breached the court
may order compensation to be paid to the customary fishing rights holders”.
As customary management arises from within the communities,
it is sensitive to local stakeholders concerns.
The degree of direct stakeholder input into management decisions
can vary considerably between communities.
Generally, information for management is acquired by direct
observation of the abundance of the species concerned. In many case the village fishers have harvested
the important fishery resources for several generations and are well
aware of changes in abundance. The
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is moving towards a role
of providing scientific/technical advice to customary rights holders
to enable more effective management.
The basic fisheries law is the Fisheries Act 1998. Major features of the Act are:
most important subsidiary legislation is the Fisheries (Local Fishing
Vessels) Regulations which specify the obligations of a master of a
licensed fishing vessel, including a ban on fishing within five hundred
metres of low water mark, within one nautical mile of any village or
fish, without permission in writing.
Other fisheries-relevant legislation are:
from basic infrastructure, the main government investment in fisheries
is the ownership of Solomon Taiyo Ltd. Since February 2001 when the Japanese joint
venture partner withdrew, the company has been entirely owned by the
government. The major assets
in mid-2001 were the tuna cannery at Noro and 10 operational pole/line
tuna fishing vessels.
Most major private sector investments in the
Solomon Islands, including those in the fisheries sector, have been
made by foreign investors, often working through joint ventures. The tuna longline companies, trochus processing
factories, and the aquarium export business are examples of the important
The is little information on subsidies in fisheries
in the Solomon Islands. The various
fisheries centers around the country which service fisheries and assist
in marketing have generally operated at loss, and could therefore be
considered a form of subsidy to rural commercial fishers.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR FISHERY PRODUCTS
Projections for the supply and demand for fish
are unavailable for the Solomon Islands. Nevertheless, some crude estimates
can be made by combining present fish consumption information with forecasts
for population increases.
The population of the Solomon Islands in 2000
was 447,900. Depending on migration
and changes in fertility, the 2025 population is expected to be between
788,300 and 876,300, or about 1.86 times the present population.
There have been several attempts to estimate
per capita fish consumption in the Solomon Island. During the last two decades most of these estimates
indicated an annual per capita consumption2 of between 32 and 40 kg for
the entire country.
If is assumed that annual per capita consumption
is 36 kg, then the Solomon Islands consumed about 16,000 mt of fish
in 2000. If the population expands
1.86 times between 2000 and 2025 as indicated above, and per capita
fish consumption remains the same as in 2000, about 30,000 mt of fish
will be required in 2025.
AND SUB-NATIONAL FISHERIES INSTITUTIONS
The management of living marine resources in
The Ministry is headquartered in
is currently no established commercial fisheries organizations in
Fisheries Act 1998 establishes a fisheries advisory council which
consists of from five to seven members appointed
by the Minister from among persons appearing
to him to have ability and experience in matters relating to fisheries.
Council advises the Minister on matters relating to the conservation,
protection and development of fisheries in
has information on