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Part I Overview and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

Part II Narrative (2017)

  1. Production sector
    • Marine sub-sector
      • Catch profile
      • Landing sites
      • Fishing practices/systems
      • Main resources
      • Management applied to main fisheries
      • Fishing communities
    • Inland sub-sector
    • Aquaculture sub-sector
    • Recreational sub-sector
  2. Post-harvest sector
    • Fish utilization
    • Fish markets
  3. Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sector
    • Role of fisheries in the national economy
    • Trade
    • Food security
    • Employment
    • Rural development
  4. Trends, issues and development
    • Constraints and opportunities
    • Government and non-government sector policies and development strategies
    • Research, education and training
      • Research
      • Education and training
    • Foreign aid
  5. Institutional framework
  6. Legal framework
    • Regional and international legal framework
  7. Annexes
  8. References

Additional information

  1. FAO Thematic data bases
  2. Publications
  3. Meetings & News archive

Part I Overview and main indicators

Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

Country brief

Niue has a population of 1 600 in 2015, a land area of 259 km2, a coastline of 64 km and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 390 000 km2. Fisheries contribution to GDP in 2014 was estimated as USD 0.4 million. Estimated annual per capita fishery products consumption was about 38 kg in 2013.

Niue is an uplifted coralline island with the greater part of its coast comprised of an ancient, raised reef platform forming cliffs which rise to around 60 m above sea level. Niue has no lagoon and the outer reef slope descends precipitously to 1 000 m within 5 km of the shore. Cliffs predominate along much of the coastline and there are relatively few locations for ocean access. Fisheries in the waters of Niue are primarily oriented to subsistence, but there is some small-scale commercial fishing and sporadic offshore industrial-scale fishing. A 2011 census estimated that 346 men and 251 women worked in fisheries and that there were a total of 273 small, undecked boats. In 2016, the estimated catches were 38 tonnes.

Since 2003 there has been no authorized foreign fishing in Niue’s zone. US purse seine vessels are permitted under a multilateral treaty to fish in the Niue, but actual fishing in Niue waters by those vessels has not occurred in many years. At the beginning of 2005, Niue began licensing longline vessels to fish under charter arrangement. Production from those boats reached a maximum in 2006 and early 2007. Fishing operations stopped in December 2007. Coastal fishing is primarily carried out for subsistence purposes, with some local sales. Much of the coastal fishing in Niue is undertaken by fishing off the reef (i.e. spear fishing, line fishing, gleaning) or fishing from small craft just outside of the reef. There is currently no aquaculture activity on Niue.

Niue is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and central Pacific Ocean. Niue is also a party to a number of treaties and agreements relating to the management of regional fisheries as follows.

 
General geographic and economic indicators

Table 1 - Niue -General Geographic and Economic Data

    Source
Shelf area:

284 km²

Sea Around US:

www.seaaroundus.org

Length of continental coastline: 64 km

World by Map

www. world.bymap.org

Fisheries GDP (2014): 4.3% National GDP

Gillet, 20161

*Value converted by FAO as per UN currency exchange rate
(1) Gillett, R. D. Fisheries in the Economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Pacific Community (SPC), 2016

Key statistics

 Source
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area319 089km2VLIZ

Source: FAO Country Profile

FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the FAO Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent statistics.

      1980 1990 2000 2010 2014 2015 2016
EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 0.0231
  Aquaculture
  Capture 0.0231      
    Inland
    Marine 0.0231
                   
FLEET(thousands boats) ….
                   
Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
1) Due to roundings total may not sum up


Please Note:Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.

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Updated 2017Part II Narrative

Part II of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile provides supplementary information that is based on national and other sources and that is valid at the time of compilation (see update year above). References to these sources are provided as far as possible.

Production sector

Niue is an uplifted coralline island with the greater part of its coast consisting of an ancient, raised reef platform forming cliffs that rise to around 60 m above sea level. Niue has no lagoon and the outer reef slope descends precipitously to 1 000 m within 5 km of the shore. Cliffs predominate along much of the coastline and there are relatively few locations for ocean access. The reef area has been estimated by researchers from the Pacific Community (SPC) to be about 620 hectares.

Although the island’s land area is only 259 km2, Niue’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is 390 000 km2 in area.2 Located in this zone, about 125 nautical miles south-east of Niue Island, is the semi-exposed Beveridge Reef. At 19 degrees south latitude, Niue experiences greater annual temperature variation than most of its Pacific Island neighbors.

There are 14 coastal villages in Niue. The population of Niue continues to drop – from 5 200 in 1966 to about 1 499 in mid-2014.

A study by SPC (Kronen et al., 2008) states that the orientation to a western lifestyle, which includes high living costs, frequent travel and a high education level, suggests the existence of alternative income opportunities and thus a low dependency on reef fisheries for income and nutrition. Nevertheless, reef fishing is part of the Niuean lifestyle, underpinning the strong bond between the native Polynesian people and the sea. People in Niue go fishing not to catch as many fish as possible, nor to make money, but for pleasure and well-being. The frequent exchange of seafood on a non-monetary basis further supports the argument that reef fishing in Niue has a traditional value.

Most fishing and invertebrate collecting occurs on the side of the island that is protected from the prevailing south-east trade winds. The natural inaccessibility of the eastern coast means that this area plays an important role in marine conservation (Fisk, 2007).

Fisheries statistics can be presented in different forms to cater for different purposes. In the statistics published by FAO (Part 1 of this profile), the presentation follows the international conventions and standards used by FAO and its Member States for reporting catches, which are given by the flag of the catching vessel. Accordingly, the fishery and aquaculture production of Niue in 2014 published by FAO (as given in Part 1) was 38 tonnes.

In Table 3 below, the Niue fishery production statistics include catch by any Niue-flagged vessels3 (as reported to FAO), catch by canoes and skiffs operated by Niue nationals and catch from fishing activities in Niue that do not involve a vessel (e.g. reef gleaning). The offshore category in the table is defined as the catch from Niue-flagged, industrial-scale fishing operations that are carried out anywhere (i.e. inside or outside the Niue zone).



Table 3: Niue fisheries production (as per FAO reporting standards)

2014AquacultureFreshwater

Coastal

commercial

Coastal

subsistence

Niue-flagged offshore
Volume (tonnes) 00111540

Value

(USD)

00116 0161 136 9530


The amounts of production given in the above table differ slightly from those shown in Part 1. Table 3 consists of production estimated from a variety of sources (see SPC study below), whereas the quantities reported in Part 1 are estimates by the Niue Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) reported to FAO.

The fishery statistics of Niue are presented in a different way in a recent study by SPC. The SPC study (Gillett, 2016) reports on the amount of catch in Niue fisheries waters, regardless of vessel flag. In the study, the catches are placed in different categories, which is useful for other purposes, such as administration of the foreign fishing that occurs in the waters of Niue. A summary of the fishery production from the SPC study is given in Table 4 below.



Table 4: Fisheries production in Niue waters

2014AquacultureFreshwater

Coastal

commercial

Coastal

subsistence

Offshore

locally

based4

Offshore

foreign-based5

     Both Niue- and foreign-flagged vessels
Volume (tonnes) 00111540547
Value (USD)00116 0161 136 95301 519 487
Source: Gillett (2016)

Some comment is required to explain the difference between the information in this table and that in Part 1 of this profile:

  • Catches can be given by the flag of the catching vessel (as in the FAO statistics given in Part 1), or by the zone where the catch is made (the “offshore foreign-based” and “offshore locally based” columns above). These two different ways of allocating catch each have their purposes. Attribution by flag is important for consistency with international conventions, while attribution by zone is important for determining fishing contributions to GDP, and managing revenue from licence fees for foreign fishing in a country’s zone.

  • There is no fisheries statistical system in Niue covering the categories of coastal commercial and coastal subsistence fishing. The estimates above were made by a study carried out by SPC in 2015 which examined a large number of fishery and economic studies covering the last two decades.


(2) Some sources cite 450 000 km2 as the size of the Niue zone.
(3) There are no such vessels at present. The 2016 Niue report to the WCPFC (Fisheries Division, 2016) states: “Niue is not a flag state”.
(4) In the SPC study, “offshore locally based” is the catch in Niue waters from industrial-scale tuna fishing operations that are (a) based at a port in Niue, and (b) generally harvested more than 12 nautical miles offshore.
(5) “Offshore foreign-based” is the catch in Niue fisheries waters from catch from industrial-scale tuna fishing operations that are based at ports outside Niue. Under the international standardized System of National Accounts (SNA, 2009), those catches do not contribute to the GDP of Niue.

Marine sub-sector

Catch profile

Fisheries in the waters of Niue are primarily oriented to subsistence, but there is some small-scale commercial fishing and sporadic, offshore industrial-scale fishing.

For the offshore industrial fishing, the Fisheries Division (2015) states:

A total of five out of eight vessels that were licensed to fish in 2014 engaged in fishing. These vessels were flagged to Fiji, Cook Islands, United States and Taiwan. As expected, albacore made up the majority of the catches, followed by yellowfin and bigeye. The effort is slightly lower in 2014 compared to 2013 and it was concentrated on the north-western part of the island.

There has been no locally based offshore fishing in Niue since 2007. The one small “alia” catamaran longliner operating since 2013 is, for the purpose of the present study, considered to be part of the coastal fleet.

Estimates of the volumes and values of catches of the four main commercial species of tuna in the area of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) have been made by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) using data sourced from SPC’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme. The volumes and values of the catches can be determined using the FFA data (FFA, 2015). Table 5 below takes those volumes and adjusts for bycatch. The values on the table are adjusted (a) to account for the value of the bycatch, and (b) to be in-zone values (i.e. overseas market prices, less transport charges to those markets).

Table 5: Offshore catches in the Niue zone

 20102011201220132014
Adjusted catch volume (tonnes)32200597547
Adjusted catch value (USD) 718 540 00 1 306 626 1 519 487
Source: Modified from FFA (2015)

Catch estimates for coastal fishing around Niue involved more speculation. As mentioned above, there is no fisheries statistical system in Niue covering the categories of coastal commercial and coastal subsistence fishing – so catches must be estimated indirectly. Using previous survey work on Niue, discussions with Niue fisheries officials, and changes in recent years that could affect fisheries production, the SPC study (Gillett, 2016) made an estimate of the 2014 Niue coastal fisheries production. The important considerations of that study were as follows:

  • The SPC PROCFish program surveyed Niue in June 2005. As part of that work, estimates were made of the annual production in various categories of fishing. The report of the survey (Kronen et al., 2008) states: (a) the survey data suggests a total annual reef finfish catch of 53.4 tonnes; (b) there is an estimated production of 76.2 tonnes/year from mid-water and trolling fishing; and (c) applying sample data to the total number of possible invertebrate fishers in Niue, the total annual impact in biomass (wet weight) removed amounts to 35.3 tonnes/year. This equates to a total annual harvest of 164.9 tonnes.


  • Gillett (2009) considered many studies (except the above PROCFish work as the results were not available), recent information on factors that could affect coastal fishery production, recent surveys, and current prices of fish. Coastal fisheries production in 2007 was estimated to be 150 tonnes, made up of commercial production of 10 tonnes (worth NZD 80 000 to the fisher) and subsistence production of 140 tonnes (worth NZD 840 000).


  • According to Niue fisheries officials, estimates of total fisheries production for coastal fisheries have not been made in Niue since 2008. In examining the above studies, it appears that the PROCFish work was the most methodical in the way that coastal fisheries production was estimated. Accordingly, if it is assumed that the PROCFish estimate is reasonably accurate, it could be adjusted by factors that are likely to have affected production in the period since that estimate was made.


  • In recent years there have been a few changes that could have conceivably affected coastal fisheries production. According to an individual knowledgeable about Niue fisheries (J. Tamate, personal communication, December 2015), these changes include the following: (a) The locally based longliners ceased operations in late 2007. When those vessels operated from Niue (2005–2007), there was an increase in the supply of fish (i.e. sales of longline bycatch) resulting in a lower price for coastal fish. When the operations ceased in late 2007, the price increased. (b) To compensate coastal fishers for the lower prices for coastal fish due to the longlining, the government introduced a fuel subsidy in 2006 to ensure local fishers would remain in the fishery. The subsidy was removed in late 2015. (c) In the period 2007–2014, the population of Niue dropped from 1 587 to 1 499, a reduction of 5.9 percent. (d) Major cyclones have had substantial negative impacts on coastal fisheries (the last serious cyclone to hit Niue was Heta in 2004). (e) The number of fish aggregation devices (FADs) has been relatively constant in the last decade. (f) An international fishing competition was started in 2010. (g) There was an increase in the number of canoes and fishing activities from 2010, e.g. in 2014, one village launched 40 new canoes. (h) Average prices paid to fishers increased from NZD 7.00 to 9.00 per kg in 2007, to NZD 12.00– 15.00 in 2014. An inspection of the above list of factors suggests there are influences that would tend to both increase and decrease coastal fisheries production, with no remarkable net affect. This is consistent with the views of Niue fisheries officials, who believe that production has not changed much since the 2005 PROCFish work.


Selectively using the above information, it is estimated that the coastal fisheries production in Niue in 2014 was 165 tonnes, made up of 11 tonnes of commercial catch (worth USD 116 016 to the fishers) and 154 tonnes of subsistence catch (worth USD 1 136 953 to the fishers).

Landing sites

The only wharf in Niue is at Alofi, the main urban area. This part of Niue is sheltered from the prevailing south-easterly trade winds but is vulnerable to wind and swell from the west. This is because, unlike most ports in Pacific Island countries, there is no barrier reef protecting the wharf area. In major storms that have occurred (e.g. Cyclone Heta in January 2004), much of the exposed wharf equipment was damaged.

When the large longliners operated out of Niue in the mid-2000s, their catch was landed at the Alofi wharf. The single small longliner also offloaded its catch at this wharf, as did many other smaller boats.

At two other sites, some improvements have been made to facilitate the landing of canoes and small boats. Fishing craft also land catches at many unimproved landings around Niue.

The catch by offshore foreign-based vessels is not sold in Niue. This catch is offloaded at various locations, including Pago Pago, American Samoa, and Suva, Fiji.
Fishing practices/systems

The history of offshore fishing in the Niue zone is presented in Box 1.

Box 1: Past offshore fishing in the Niue zone

Some fishing by Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean longliners was reported before the establishment of the Niue EEZ. Pole-and-line operations for skipjack tuna were conducted in Niuean waters in early 1980 through the Skipjack Survey and Assessment Programme of SPC. Tuna longline operations were conducted in Niuean waters from 1993 to 1997 by two to six Taiwanese vessels fishing under an access agreement. Over the five-year period, 790 000 hooks were set for a catch of 306 tonnes of albacore tuna and 13 tonnes of yellowfin tuna. In 2002 there were 21 licensed vessels from Taiwan and American Samoa fishing in the Niue EEZ, with an approximate catch of 50–100 tonnes. Locally based offshore longlining commenced in May 2005, with four small vessels landing 33 tonnes over a three-month period. The number of licensed vessels increased to 13 by the end of 2005, with a total recorded catch of 122.8 tonnes. These vessels fished under a charter arrangement and landed their fish to the government joint-venture fish-processing facility, Niue Fish Processors Ltd. During 2006 and 2007, the number of vessels fishing in Niuean waters and landing their catch to the processing facility fluctuated, resulting in the closing of the facility due to the limited amount of fish available for processing, which made the operation uneconomic.
Source: Kronen et al. (2008)

Currently, all offshore fishing in the Niue zone is carried out by longliners. According to the Fisheries Division (2015), a total of five out of eight vessels that were licensed to fish in 2014 engaged in fishing. These vessels were flagged to Fiji, Cook Islands, the United States and Taiwan. In 2015, the number of longline vessels licensed to fish in Niue decreased from five to three (Fisheries Division, 2016) and the effort and total weight for the year decreased significantly compared to the previous two years. Niue licensed two purse-seine vessels in 2015. However, no catch was reported by these vessels.

With respect to coastal fishing, fishing techniques can be partitioned into three categories:

  • Shore-based fishing techniques include hook and line, occasional gillnetting, reef gleaning, diving and spearfishing.
  • Fishing from boats close to the island includes shallow-water handlining and the traditional catching of Decapterus, called ulihega in Niue (Box 2).
  • Further offshore, fishing activity consists mainly of trolling or vertical longlining, with a few other types of hook gear. Fishing effort is predominantly focused around anchored FADs, which are located within 3 nautical miles of the island.


Box 2: Fishing for Decapterus in Niue

Fish of the genus Decapterus are commonly referred to as scads, round scads and mackerel scads. In Niue, they are called “ulihega”. These fish are caught in Niue by traditional techniques and are valued for both food and bait. Using single-man canoes, groups of fishermen bait small hooks with bits of coconut meat to catch the fish relatively close to shore, usually around sunset. The fishing season appears to correspond to the period of highest sea surface temperature, October to April. Although the annual catch of scads in Niue is probably much less than 5 tonnes, it is likely that scads account for a higher proportion of the total fish catch in Niue than in any other Pacific Island country.
Source: Gillett (1987)

In addition to the capture of Decapterus, another culturally important fishery in Niue is that for the coconut crab (Birgus latro). Helagi et al. (2015) state that the coconut crab is an iconic species in Niue and a local delicacy, eaten regularly and used in celebrations. It is hunted for domestic sale and for export to Niueans living abroad, and supports a growing eco-tourism sector, where visitors take guided tours to view crabs in natural habitats. To catch coconut crabs, hunters set baits of coconuts split in half, or a whole coconut with a small wedge cut out. This bait is fastened to a tree root or limestone coral. Half coconuts are generally used when crabs are needed at short notice. Whole coconuts with a small wedge removed are set and revisited regularly for up to three weeks. Hunters revisit baits at various times of the night, using torches or head lamps. Crabs are also dug directly from burrows, although locating crabs underground requires considerable experience. Hunters may use dogs to assist them in searching for crabs, and vehicles are now also being used to search for crabs at night on and alongside roads.

For nearshore pelagic fishing, fishers on Niue often make use of FADs. Some background on FADs in Niue is given in Box 3.

Box 3: History of FADs in Niue

FADs were first introduced to Niue in the early 1980s, with materials funded by the United Nations Development Programme, and SPC providing a master fisher to rig and deploy the FADs while training local fisheries staff in these techniques. Four FADs were deployed in 1982 along the west coast in 220–780 m depths and at a distance of 1–3.75 km from the island. With the successful development of a FAD programme in Niue, the Fisheries Department regularly maintained the FADs. Several FADs were deployed in the mid-1980s, followed by another six in 1989/90. The fisheries staff continued to maintain and replace FADs during the 1990s, with seven FADs on station in 1991 and eight FADs on station in 1999. In 2001, a joint project was initiated between SPC and the fisheries departments of Niue and Cook Islands. The project was to develop a more cost-effective FAD mooring design, collect catch and effort data from fishers (with a focus on FAD fishing), conduct a cost–benefit analysis of the FADs, and produce a manual on the most effective FAD mooring designs. Over a three-year period, 11 FADs were deployed off Niue and a data collection system initiated. The results clearly showed the value of FADs to the small-scale tuna and coastal pelagic fishery off Niue.

In 2012, Niue had the most extensive FAD network in the Pacific region. In that year, there were nine FADs in place, including three offshore and six nearshore FADs. The National Tourism Office had plans to deploy three more FADs specifically for visiting spearfishers – a first in the region.

Source: Kronen et al. (2008); Blanc (2012)

Main resources

The main offshore fishery resources are the tunas and tuna-like species. The Fisheries Division (2015) states that albacore is the dominant species, making up over 70 percent of the total weight, followed by yellowfin then bigeye.

In terms of the status of these offshore resources, recent information from the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC, 2016) shows that for:

  • South Pacific albacore there is no indication that current levels of catch are causing recruitment overfishing, particularly given the age selectivity of the fisheries. It should be noted that longline catch rates are declining, and catches over the last 10 years have been at historically high levels and are increasing;
  • yellowfin the current total biomass and spawning biomass are higher than at levels associated with maximum sustainable yields. Therefore, yellowfin tuna is not considered to be in an overfished state.
  • bigeye recent analysis indicates that overfishing is occurring for the bigeye tuna stock and that to reduce fishing mortality to that at maximum sustainable yield, a large reduction in fishing mortality is required.


As for the coastal fishery resources, Fishbase (www.fishbase.org) lists 212 finfish species that are found on Niue. Fisk (2007) studied the coastal environment of Niue and noted the relatively low diversity of animal and plant species. He attributed the few species to:

  • Niue’s isolation from other landmasses, which limits the number of species reaching the island;
  • Niue being relatively young geologically. The upper terrace formed during interglacial periods that occurred prior to 500 000 to 900 000 years ago – the animals and plants arriving in Niue have thus had limited time to evolve;
  • Niue’s relatively small size, which provides a restricted range of habitats (e.g. it lacks a reef lagoon) and limits species numbers and degree of endemism (the only known endemic marine organism is a sea snake).


Invertebrates are quite important in Niue relative to neighboring countries. Lambeth and Fay-Sauni (2001) carried out research on invertebrates and seaweeds in Niue and recorded Niuean names for a total of 63 Niuean invertebrates and 3 seaweeds, with 41 of these collected for food. They give the most important invertebrates and seaweeds as: the spiny lobster (Panulirus sp.), slipper lobster (Parribacus sp.), red reef crab (Etisus splendidus), three-spot reef crab (Carpilius maculatus), giant clam (Tridacna squamosa and T. maxima), green snail (Turbo setosus), and caulerpa seaweeds or seagrapes (Caulerpa racemosa, and C. cupressoides).

There is limited information on the status of Niue’s coastal fishery resources:

  • Dalzell et al. (1990) estimated the total fisheries production of Niue to be about 115 tonnes per year, based on nutritional data and population census data. A further 4.9 tonnes per year was estimated to be exported to New Zealand during periods of direct air connections. The questionnaire survey indicates that about half of Niue's fish production comes from the coral reef areas. This amounts to a total annual reef yield for the 6.2 km2 of shallow reef of 9.3 tonnes/km2. According to Kronen et al. (2008), this harvest level suggests that “Niue’s reef resources are reasonably heavily exploited”.
  • The report of an SPC study in 2005 (Kronen et al., 2008) states: “The finfish resource assessment indicates that the quality of finfish resources in Niue is quite poor. Preliminary results suggest that this scarcity of finfish may be natural rather than induced by fishing, possibly due to the lack of a lagoon and the remoteness and small size of the island…The quality and quantity of reef finfish resources in Niue will only allow limited subsistence use; expansion of the fishery is not possible without causing overfishing.”
  • Fisk (2007) states that many community members share the perception that coastal marine resources are being depleted. A review of the status of coastal marine resources in Niue based on previous studies showed that prior information is scarce and often in a form that does not assist in assessing long-term trends in resource availability. A lack of data frustrates efforts to validate possible causes of resource depletion from land-based activities. Inconsistency in survey methodology in previous studies also hindered the assessment of long-term trends in resources. It is probable that a major contributor to resource depletions is the limited natural carrying capacity of coastal habitats, which are under constant pressure from high harvest levels. When coupled with natural disturbances (cyclones, storms, bleaching) and large variations in species replenishment (due to the isolation of Niue from other similar reef systems), it is clear that the result will be wide fluctuations in resource availability and abundance, on both spatial and temporal scales. It is possible to hypothesize that the perceived depletion of stocks could be attributed to interference with recovery processes following major natural perturbations, through a combination of localised pollution effects and widespread overharvesting.


As stated in section 4.2.3 above, the fishery for coconut crab is culturally important in Niue. It is probably the best-studied fishery resource in Niue, and nowhere else in the Pacific Islands region has more effort gone into coconut crab research and management.

  • Kronen et al. (2008) cited a previous SPC study (Friedman and Pakoa, 2007) that involved a desk review on the coconut crab in Niue at the request of the Niue Fisheries Department. The review noted that, in the early 1990s, stocks of coconut crab were already depleted and stock abundance had continued to fall. Management measures that had previously been recommended to halt declines were only partially adopted and proved insufficient to stem declines in the populations. However, even highly depleted fisheries have managed to recover, as long as spawning stock (the number of females of spawning size) is not decimated. The review recommended that only strong controls on harvest could protect the remaining stock of coconut crabs on Niue.
  • The most recent study (Helagi et al., 2015) found that there was a greater abundance of coconut crabs in 2014 compared to previous studies. The size structure of the coconut crab population has remained reasonably stable over the past two decades, but with small average and maximum sizes for female and male coconut crabs. Seventeen percent of crabs recorded (both male and female) were larger than the current minimum harvest size limit, but only two percent of females recorded were above the minimum harvest size. There was a slight decrease in the average size of male and female crabs recorded in this study compared to 1990. Small average sizes and the lack of large crabs in a population are consistent with heavy harvesting pressure.


Management applied to main fisheries

Niue’s offshore fishery is managed on regional and national levels:

  • On the regional level, Niue is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that was established by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Niue and the other 26 members of the commission enact tuna management measures at the annual WCPFC meeting. From Niue’s perspective, the two most important measures are: (1) the Conservation and Management Measure for South Pacific Albacore, and (2) the Conservation and Management Measure for Bigeye, Yellowfin and Skipjack Tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
  • On the national level, the tuna fisheries are managed by the National Pelagic Management and Development Plan. According to the Fisheries Division (2016), that plan (a) sets limits on the main tuna species targeted, based on the best catch rates and those neighbouring countries’ catches that are similar in size; (b) contains the provision that sharks caught in Niue’s waters must be discarded; and (c) specifies the requirements for research involving offshore target and non-target species.


As for coastal fisheries management in Niue, it is important to consider the historical context. Pasisi (1995) states: “Given that fishing pressure, due to Niue’s relatively low population, has been proportionately low and predominately on a subsistence scale, the issues of management, conservation and sustainability have been somewhat ignored. Reflecting this is the current almost non-existence of inshore fishery strategies/plans.”

There is a coastal fisheries management plan, but as of April 2017 that plan is still in draft form (B. Pasisi, personal communication, April 2017). An earlier national management plan for coastal fisheries was developed to “produce baseline information, promote existing and introduce appropriate new management and co-management mechanisms, and assess the effectiveness of these mechanisms with respect to fishery production and social systems” (Kronen et al., 2008).

Much of the current coastal fisheries management measures are given in the Domestic Fishing Act 1995 (below).

According to the DAFF Corporate Plan 2015–2019, the core fisheries management functions of the department in the near future will be as follows:

  • Fisheries Management Advisory Committee (FMAC) is established and functioning by June 2017.
  • Management Committee provides recommendations to the Minister and cabinet on key fisheries management and development matters. At least two meetings of the FMAC annually from 2017 onwards.
  • Niue Pelagic Fisheries Management and Development Plan is reviewed in 2018.
  • Coastal Fisheries Management Plan endorsed by cabinet by December 2016.
  • At least two village community-based fisheries management plans are completed annually from 2017 onwards.
  • Marine spatial plan is completed by 2019 including zoning for key fisheries-related activities.
Management objectives

Niue’s offshore fishery is managed on regional and national levels:

  • On the regional level, Niue is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that was established by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Niue and the other 26 members of the commission enact tuna management measures at the annual WCPFC meeting. From Niue’s perspective, the two most important measures are: (1) the Conservation and Management Measure for South Pacific Albacore, and (2) the Conservation and Management Measure for Bigeye, Yellowfin and Skipjack Tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
  • On the national level, the tuna fisheries are managed by the National Pelagic Management and Development Plan. According to the Fisheries Division (2016), that plan (a) sets limits on the main tuna species targeted, based on the best catch rates and those neighbouring countries’ catches that are similar in size; (b) contains the provision that sharks caught in Niue’s waters must be discarded; and (c) specifies the requirements for research involving offshore target and non-target species.


As for coastal fisheries management in Niue, it is important to consider the historical context. Pasisi (1995) states: “Given that fishing pressure, due to Niue’s relatively low population, has been proportionately low and predominately on a subsistence scale, the issues of management, conservation and sustainability have been somewhat ignored. Reflecting this is the current almost non-existence of inshore fishery strategies/plans.”

There is a coastal fisheries management plan, but as of April 2017 that plan is still in draft form (B. Pasisi, personal communication, April 2017). An earlier national management plan for coastal fisheries was developed to “produce baseline information, promote existing and introduce appropriate new management and co-management mechanisms, and assess the effectiveness of these mechanisms with respect to fishery production and social systems” (Kronen et al., 2008).

Much of the current coastal fisheries management measures are given in the Domestic Fishing Act 1995 (below).

According to the DAFF Corporate Plan 2015–2019, the core fisheries management functions of the department in the near future will be as follows:

  • Fisheries Management Advisory Committee (FMAC) is established and functioning by June 2017.
  • Management Committee provides recommendations to the Minister and cabinet on key fisheries management and development matters. At least two meetings of the FMAC annually from 2017 onwards.
  • Niue Pelagic Fisheries Management and Development Plan is reviewed in 2018.
  • Coastal Fisheries Management Plan endorsed by cabinet by December 2016.
  • At least two village community-based fisheries management plans are completed annually from 2017 onwards.
  • Marine spatial plan is completed by 2019 including zoning for key fisheries-related activities.
Management measures and institutional arrangements

According to the Fisheries Division (2016), the main management measure for the offshore fishery is a limit on the catches of the main tuna species. There is also a prohibition on the discarding of sharks caught in Niue waters.

Much of the current coastal fisheries management measures are given in the Domestic Fishing Act 1995, which prohibits:

  • use of certain fishing means (e.g. explosives, fish poisons, small mesh nets)
  • fishing in marine reserves
  • bait fishing in certain areas
  • taking of certain species
  • exporting certain species
  • fishing on Sundays
  • using an unlicensed vessel for fishing.


The main institution involved with fisheries management in Niue is the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This agency is discussed in Section 8 below.
Fishing communities

The concept of “fishing communities” has limited applicability to Niue. Most households in the villages of Niue are involved in fishing activities. It could therefore be stated that all villages in Niue are “fishing communities”.
Inland sub-sector

There are no freshwater fisheries in Niue. Unlike most Pacific Island countries, neither tilapia nor freshwater shrimps (Macrobrachium) are caught on Niue.



Aquaculture sub-sector

There is currently no aquaculture activity on Niue.
Recreational sub-sector

In Niue there are two categories of activities that could be considered recreational fishing:

  • Reef fishing is part of the Niuean lifestyle, as noted in the introduction to this profile (Kronen et al. 2008).
  • Many of the tourists that come to Niue are involved with fishing. There are a few local businesses that take visitors out fishing and occasionally game-fishing tournaments are organized.
Post-harvest sector

Fish utilization

Most of the catch by offshore longliners is delivered to a cannery in the region (e.g. Levuka, Fiji, and Pago Pago, American Samoa) or transshipped at a port in a nearby country, often Pago Pago or Suva, Fiji.

No discussion of post-harvest aspects of fisheries in Niue would be complete without mention of the tuna processing plant (Box 4). Although that facility is not currently operating (it closed in late 2007), it is noteworthy due to several features, including the possibility it may re-open in the future

Box 4: Locally based foreign processing companies in Niue

Niue has an interesting, if not totally traditional, form of second-generation access arrangement to encourage the development of domestic industry in its micro economy. In lieu of access agreements, the key development for Niue’s fishing industry is the negotiation of a new joint venture between the government of Niue and the private company Reef Group. Reef is a New Zealand firm that focuses on ocean-going sea freight; it holds a monopoly on freight services to Niue and feeds several other Pacific Island countries.

The creation of Niue Fish Processors Ltd (NFP) has had several important effects on local development and on resource use. All foreign commercial tuna vessels fishing in Niue’s zone are required to offload all of their catches to the NFP plant. Only vessels that agree to these terms will be licensed. NFP currently employs six Niuean staff and three expatriates.

In addition to its role as a packing plant, NFP has also recently purchased two large longliners that will be used to supply the plant. The vessels are owned by Reef Group and are registered in the Cook Islands. The original intention was that the factory would simply process and export fish on a contract basis for independent fishing boats, but due to the lack of supply it became necessary for the factory to have company boats to supply it.

The wharf appears to be one of the biggest shortcomings of the venture as it is very small, shallow, and subject to surge, and several boats have been damaged on the surrounding reef trying to access it. Generally, services and logistics are proving very difficult – airport services and tele-communications do not perform reliably.

Summarizing, Niue is an interesting example of how fisheries access to the resource can be used to induce domestic development in even the most isolated of locations. Niue is the smallest, remotest and one of the least well-served Pacific Island countries in terms of infrastructure and yet it has succeeded in attracting foreign investment in a major tuna processing facility.

Source: Campling et al. (2007)

With respect to coastal fisheries, most of the fisheries production is consumed at home. Some, however, is sold both to Niue residents and to the establishments that cater to tourists.
Fish markets

The catch from offshore longlining is not brought ashore. The catch from coastal fishing is mainly for consumption by the family of the person making the catch. It is only when there is a surplus that seafood is sold either raw or cooked at the Alofi market on Tuesdays and Fridays. A few women also sell from home, or to restaurants, hotels and shops.
Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sector

A recent study by SPC (Gillett, 2016) attempted to quantify the fishery-related benefits received by Niue and other Pacific Island countries. The study gave the available information on the contribution of fishing/fisheries to GDP, exports, government revenue, employment and nutrition. Unless otherwise noted, the information in this section is from that study. Role of fisheries in the national economy

The Niue GDP for recent years is given by the Statistics and Immigration Division (2015). Unpublished data from the Statistics and Immigration Division gives the fisheries component of the GDP (Table 6).

Table 6:Fisheries contribution to Niue GDP (USD (000))

  2013 2014
Fisheries contribution to GDP 1 074 1 045
Niue GDP (current prices) 24 902 24 432
Fisheries as a % of GDP 4.3% 4.3%
Source: Statistics and Immigration Division (2015; and unpublished data)

The SPC study examined the official methodology and, using its independent estimate of the value of fisheries production, re-estimated the fishing contribution. The re-estimated fishing contribution to the Niue GDP in 2014 was USD 1 045 000, which is also (rounding off) 4.3 percent of GDP.

In 2014, the total access fees for all foreign fishing in the Niue zone was USD 635 815. This represented about 3.3 percent of the government’s recurrent expenditure for the year.
Trade

Since Niue Fish Processors and the associated longlining ceased activities in late 2007 there have been no formal exports of fishery products from Niue. Informal fish exports occur as passenger baggage on flights to Auckland, but these are not monitored.

If there were 75 flights in 2014, and each flight carried 100 kg of fish, that would equate to an informal export of 7.5 tonnes of fish during the year. In 2014, the value of all exports was NZD 15 085 000 (http://wits.worldbank.org), so at NZD 11.71/kg, this hypothetical fish export would be about 0.6 percent of all exports in 2014.

One of the most significant items in Niue’s informal fishery exports is the coconut crab. The report of the SPC/DAFF study of the status of coconut crab in Niue (Helagi et al., 2015) states that departing aircraft passengers and their baggage/cargos were monitored for some flights between March 2014 to January 2015. From this monitoring, it was estimated that around 9 350–9 850 crabs were sent abroad over the sampling period.
Food security

The SPC PROCFish programme conducted fieldwork around Niue in May and June 2005. With respect to fish consumption, that survey interviewed about half of the households and made estimates of fish consumption (Table 7).

Table 7: Seafood consumption on Niue

Item Consumption (kg)
Quantity fresh fish consumed (kg/capita/year) 31.03 (±2.28)
Quantity fresh invertebrate consumed (kg/capita/year) 2.53 (±0.33)
Quantity canned fish consumed (kg/capita/year) 17.17 (±1.26)
Source: Kronen et al. (2008); M. Kronen (personal communication, March 2009)

Bell et al. (2009) used information from household income and expenditure surveys (HIES) conducted between 2001 and 2006 to estimate patterns of fish consumption in Pacific Island countries. The HIES were designed to enumerate consumption based on both subsistence and cash acquisitions. For Niue, the annual per capita fish consumption (whole weight equivalent) was 79.3 kg, some of which was imported.

In the 2015 SPC study (Gillett, 2016), the production of coastal commercial and subsistence fisheries is estimated to have been 165 tonnes in 2014. The population of Niue was 1 499 in 2014. That equates to 110 kg per capita per year – without considering informal fish exports and canned fish imports.
Employment

The 2009 agriculture census of Niue (Statistics Niue, 2010) contains fisheries participation information:

  • Most of the households were engaged in inshore fishing (62 percent) – 31 percent were involved in both inshore and offshore fishing, with the remaining 7 percent being involved in offshore fishing only. This showed that fishing in Niue is still more of a subsistence activity as opposed to commercial fishing.
  • Household participation in fishing activity was very high across the country, with only one village (Lakepa) having less than a 50 percent participation rate. Toi had the highest participation rate of 89 percent, with 8 out of 9 households involved in fishing in the last 10 months.
  • The main purpose of household fishing activity was for home consumption, accounting for 82 percent of fishing households, with 16 percent selling some of their catches and the remaining 2 percent of households fishing mainly for sale.
  • Of the 564 people who engaged in fishing the week before the census night, 201 were females and 363 were males.


To some degree in Niue, the change in the number of boats reflects the change in participation in fishing. A comparison of the number of vessels in the 2006 census (Anon., 2007) and that in 2011 (Vaha, 2012) is given in Table 8. It can be seen from the table that between 2006 and 2011, while Niue’s population decreased by 14 people (0.9 percent), the population of small craft increased by 57 (26 percent).

Table 8: Change in the number of small craft 2006–2011

 Canoe

Aluminium

Dinghy

Inflatable

Dinghy

BoatOtherTotal
2006122665230216
201114211516273
Source: Anon. (2007); Vaha (2012)
A Niue-based fisheries economist believes there are about 10 people who spend at least 50 percent of their time in fishing, and who could be considered the core of commercial fishing in Niue (J. Tamate, personal communication, December 2015). Those 10 people represent about 1.4 percent of Niue’s 737-person workforce.
Rural development

The concept of “rural development” is not very relevant to a tiny country such as Niue, with a population of around 1 300 in 14 coastal villages, all in close proximity. In the Niue context, rural development in the fisheries sector equates to fisheries sector development.
Trends, issues and development

Constraints and opportunities

Some of the major constraints for the fisheries sector are:

  • the limited reef area
  • the high cost of operating longline vessels from such a remote location
  • scarce and expensive labour
  • infrequent and costly air cargo
  • inadequate wharf infrastructure
  • the highly destructive cyclones that occasionally batter the island, especially, the exposed fishery infrastructure.


Opportunities in the fisheries sector include:

  • commercial sport fishing, if the air service to Niue is enhanced;
  • building on the model of using fishing access to leverage domestic tuna industry development;
  • increased cooperation and solidarity with neighboring Pacific Island countries to increase the value of the tuna resources.
Although the fishery resources of Niue’s Beveridge Reef are sometimes cited as a development opportunity, the distance of the reef from Niue Island, the cost of travel, and the large vessel required to make the trip severely constrain the current fisheries value of the reef.
Government and non-government sector policies and development strategies

Niue has a National Strategic Plan (NNSP). The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has the “DAFF Corporate Plan 2015–2019”, which lists its activities supporting the NNSP. The corporate plan:

  • gives the fisheries and marine objective as: “To actively facilitate the utilization of Niue’s marine resources through sustainable and environmentally sound fisheries development strategies at all levels aimed at increasing economic development opportunities and enhancing food security”;
  • specifies the major activities: “All FADs replaced following cyclone losses, offshore fisheries licensing revenue secure, fishery limits utilized, and coastal fisheries managed at community level”;
  • states that fisheries work will focus on the implementation of the pelagic and coastal fisheries management and development plans;
  • indicates that the public-private sector partnership project, Niue Ocean Wide (NOW), will resource and drive key fisheries management and planning.
Research, education and trainingResearch

Fisheries research in Niue is the responsibility of the Fisheries Division. The division does not have a strong research capability, so it normally collaborates with regional fisheries organizations. SPC has carried out many research projects in Niue in the past decade, including assessment of tuna stocks and the status of coconut crab. Most of FFA research in Niue has been oriented to economics. FAO has sponsored studies on Decapterus, coconut crab and development potential.

The DAFF Corporate Plan 2015–2019 lists its planned research and development activities, which are to:

  • develop key areas in fisheries, allowing for resource sustainability and economic opportunities via research;
  • complete the Beveridge Reef assessment survey and clam genetic profiling;
  • have Niue’s pelagic tuna fishery limits fully recognized and under a rights-based management scheme by 2020;
  • deploy four to five FADs lost during the 2015–2016 cyclones.
  • deploy an additional two FADs in 2017 in support of tourism charter operations, along with two shallow-water FADs for spearfishing in strategic locations.
  • keep records of catches around FADs to monitor the success of the FAD, with an annual report on local catches.
Education and training

Education related to fisheries in Niue is undertaken in a variety of institutions:

  • Academic training in biological, economic and other aspects of fisheries is given at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva, and to a lesser extent at universities in New Zealand and elsewhere.
  • The USP Extension Centre in Niue offers courses, including those from the Marine Studies Programme.
  • Training courses, workshops and attachments are frequently organized by the regional organizations: SPC in New Caledonia and FFA in the Solomon Islands. The subject matter has included such diverse topics as fish-quality grading, stock assessment, seaweed culture, fisheries surveillance, and on-vessel observing.
  • Courses and workshop are also given by NGOs and bilateral donors.


Foreign aid

New Zealand is the largest donor of development assistance to Niue. Funding for the fisheries sector has also flowed from other sources, including Australia, FAO, UNDP, the Global Environment Facility and regional agencies. A significant amount of assistance is related to rehabilitation of infrastructure after cyclones.

The country has enjoyed substantial development assistance from the major regional agencies involved in fisheries, SPC and FFA. SPC has contributed to a variety of fishery efforts, including inshore/offshore surveys, tuna stock assessment, data processing, FAD fishing skills, production and marketing of shell craft, setting up a marine reserve, setting up a household fishing and consumer survey, and establishing a port sampling programme. FFA has been especially active in support for establishing a domestic tuna industry and improving the benefits from Niue’s tuna resources.
Institutional framework

Responsibility for fisheries and marine resource matters is vested in the Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (DAFF). DAFF is one of three components of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the other two being the Department of Environment and Meteorological Services.

Table 9 shows DAFF’s organizational structure.

Table 9: Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries’ organizational structure

Administration

Quarantine & Plant Protection

AgricultureForestryFisheries
  Crop ResearchAnimal Health  
  • Management
  • Corporate Services and Finance
  • Policy development & advice
  • Databases
  • Information and awareness
  • Marketing
  • Mechanical & maintenance
  • Quarantine
  • Border control (MCS)
  • Import/Export standards/protocol
  • Plant protection
  • Invasive species control
  • Crop research and development.
  • Sustainable land management & soils
  • Crop extension
  • Livestock production
  • Animal health
  • Feral pig control
  • Forestry management
  • Research and

development

  • Fisheries management
  • Research & development
  • Monitoring, control & surveillance
  • Compliance
  • Licensing & data collection
  • Database management
Source: DAFF Corporate Plan 2015–2019

According to the DAFF Corporate Plan 2015–2019, the core functions of DAFF are grouped into five categories:

  • Management: to implement the Fisheries Management Plans that ensure sustainability and ecosystems are managed well, and enable Niue to sustainably develop marine resources and provide food security from healthy stocks.
  • Research and Development: to develop key areas in fisheries, allowing for resource sustainability and economic opportunities via research.
  • Monitoring, Control and Surveillance and Compliance: to monitor, control and police measures adopted and ensure illegal activities are reduced.
  • Licensing: to produce competitive licences that will maximize returns to Niue.
  • Data Collection and Data Management: to maintain a comprehensive fisheries database that will aide in informing decision makers of management options.


The DAFF Corporate Plan 2015–2019 lists “challenges and risks” for the Department:

  • Limited technical expertise and capacity (human resources). Calibre of current staff complement is limited.
  • Transformation process requiring changes midstream to planned activities, increasing administrative workload.
  • Four-day week will continue to challenge the work of larger departments and projects.
  • Project funds are not received on time, and experience delays.
  • Timely planning and coordination of execution of project activities under co-financing arrangements remain challenging.
  • Uncoordinated planning of inter-governmental agency cross-sectoral support, causes real distractions on many occasions (e.g. workshops, consultations, etc.), all competing for time and personnel.
  • Regional and international obligations and integrated activities of national interest, e.g. WCPFC and fisheries management and development.
  • Vehicles, machinery, and plant are old and maintenance is limited by affordability, but also by the lack of expertise and capacity on the island to service machinery on a timely basis.
  • Staff turnover.
  • Competing community and family obligations, exacerbated by the four-day week, including staff with young babies and children.
  • Natural hazards.


Important internet links related to fisheries in Niue include:







The major regional institutions involved with fisheries are the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), located in Honiara and the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea. Other players are the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) in Majuro, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in Suva, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia, and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva. The characteristics of those institutions are given in Table 10.

Table 10: Pacific Island regional organizations involved in fisheries

  FFA SPC Other regional organizations with fishery involvement
Main area of emphasis Providing management advice on tuna fisheries and increasing benefits to Pacific Island countries from tuna fishing activities. Most aspects of coastal fisheries and scientific research on tuna. Fisheries are only one aspect of SPC’s work programme, which also covers such issues as health, demography, and agriculture.

PNA – subregional grouping of countries where most of the purse seining occurs;

SPREP – environmental aspects of fisheries;

USP – School of Marine Studies (SMS) involved in a wide range of training;

PIFS – major political initiatives, some natural resource economics; leads trade negotiations with the EU, which have a major fisheries component.

Inter-regional relationships

The FFA/SPC relationship has had ups/downs over the years. It has been most difficult in early 1990s, tremendous improvement in mid/late 1990s.

An annual colloquium has helped the relationship. Staff who have moved between the two organizations have made a noticeable improvement in understanding.

Much of the success/benefits achieved by FFA/SPC cooperation depends on the personalities of FFA’s Director/Deputy and SPC’s Director of the Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems.

At least in theory, all regional organizations come under the umbrella of PIFS. Their activities are coordinated to some degree by the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), which has a Marine Sector Working Group that meets at least once per year, but is limited by lack of resources for follow-up.

FFA originally provided secretariat services to the PNA, but the PNA broke away from FFA in 2010. Currently, there are some sensitivities in the relationship – but it appears to be improving.

Main strengths Direct contact with its governing body many times per year results in a high degree of accountability. Mandate of tight focus on tuna eliminates considerable dissipation of effort. Noumea being a pleasant place to work, there is considerable staff continuity. The Oceanic Fisheries Programme often sets the standard for tuna research in the world. Documentation of work is very good.

Because PIFS is under the national leaders, it is considered the premier regional organization.

PNA has achieved considerable success and credibility in such areas as raising access fees, 100 percent observer coverage, eco-certification, high seas closures, and controls on FADs.

USP is centrally located in the region and the SMS has substantial infrastructure.

SPREP has close ties to NGOs active in the marine sector.

Membership Australia and New Zealand, plus Cook Is., FSM, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Is., Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Is., Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu Includes the major metropolitan countries, all Pacific Island countries, and the French/UK/US territories; the most inclusive of any regional organization.

PNA: FSM, Kiribati, Marshall Is., Nauru, Palau, PNG, Solomon Is. and Tuvalu.

USP: Cook Is., Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Is., Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Is., Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

SPREP: 21 Pacific Island countries and territories, plus Australia, France, New Zealand and USA.

PIFS: same as FFA

Source: Adapted from Gillett (2014)

The Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean entered into force in June 2004 and established the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Niue is a member of the commission, along with 26 other countries. The WCPFC has its headquarters in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, and has held 13 annual meetings to date.

Niue is also a participant in a subregional fisheries grouping known as the Te Vaka Moana Arrangement. This is a cooperation arrangement between the Ministry of Marine Resources of the Cook Islands, the Ministry of Fisheries of New Zealand, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Niue, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Samoa, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forestry and Fisheries of Tonga, and the Department of Economic Development, Natural Resources and Environment of Tokelau. Information on the Te Vaka Moana Arrangement is given in Box 5.

Box 5: Te Vaka Moana Arrangement

The overarching goal of the Te Vaka Moana Arrangement (TVMA) is “to secure, protect and enhance associated long-term economic benefits able to be derived from fisheries and protect the important contribution fisheries make to the food security of the communities”. TVMA participants have endorsed several high-level objectives to achieve this goal. They are:

  • Healthy and sustainable fisheries resources that provide maximum benefit to TVMA participants (economic benefits and food security), through the development and implementation of robust fisheries governance frameworks, systems and processes, over high seas and in-zone fisheries

  • A reduction in cases of IUU fishing, and protection of fisheries management frameworks, through strengthened levels of co-operation between TVMA participants

  • A profitable and sustainable fishing industry sector, through creating stability and certainty through governance and enabling environment arrangements

  • Greater co-operation, engagement and collaboration with industry stakeholders including through fisheries industry stakeholder groups at national and sub-regional levels

  • Te Vaka Moana is an effective and efficient grouping for addressing subregional issues successfully.

There are three key elements to the governance and management structure for TVMA:

  • A Governing Committee comprising the Heads of the Fisheries Administrations of TVMA participating countries, or their representatives. The Governing Committee takes decisions for the TVMA Work Programme

  • Technical Networks to look at specific issues or complete specific tasks from the Governing Council. Not necessarily meeting based, the networks also provide an opportunity for peer-to-peer support, sharing of ideas and mentoring

  • TVMA Programme Coordinator. The role of the Coordinator is to undertake all co-ordination and management-related tasks as directed by the Governing Committee to implement the TVMA work plan. The coordinator is also the primary point of contact for TVMA with partners.

  • The TVMA Manager and Coordinator has been authorized by TVMA Participants to attend meetings to represent the interests of and speak for TVMA Participants, as well as being able seek the views of others. The Manager and Coordinator will attend meetings in which TVMA Participants have an interest, as a member of any TVMA Participant delegation. TVM Participants will, of course, continue to engage with partners on matters that affect them individually.
Source: Te Vaka Moana website (www.tevakamoana.org)

Legal framework

The domestic fisheries legislation of Niue was reviewed in 1995, which resulted in the combining of the Niue Island Fish-Protection Act 1991, the Sunday Fishing Prohibition Act 1980, the Niue Island Fish-Protection Ordinances 1965, and the Safety at Sea Act 1980, into the Domestic Fishing Act 1995 (DAFF, 1999).

The Domestic Fishing Act 1995 covers three main areas:

  • Protection of fish: marine reserves, restriction on taking of certain species, prohibited use of illegal fishing means, prohibited exports, and catch/size limits.
  • Sunday fishing ban: Sunday fishing prohibited between certain hours.
  • Safety at sea: all vessels, including fishing vessels propelled by oars or otherwise, but excluding canoes, must be licensed by the fisheries officer and must carry certain safety equipment.


Cabinet is empowered to make regulations for the purpose of giving full effect to the provisions of the act and has done so through the Domestic Fishing Regulations 1996.

The Domestic Fishing Regulations 1996 give specifics on prohibited fish exports, fish size limits, fish quota limits, destructive organisms, protected fish species, vessel safety equipment, annual licence fee for vessels, requirements for vessels fishing inside Niue's territorial sea zone, requirements for vessels fishing outside Niue's territorial sea zone, and measurement of crustaceans for size limits.

The Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1996 establishes a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles and a 200-nautical mile EEZ of approximately 390,000 km2 in size. In addition, the act covers fisheries management and development (designated fisheries, management/development plans), unauthorized fishing, prohibited fishing methods, access agreements and licensing.

Regional and international legal framework

Annexes
Map courtesy of SPC





References

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