The designations employed and the presentation of material in the map(s) are for illustration only and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.
⇧Part I Statistics and main indicators
This section provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, available by the year reported for the narrative section.
General geographic and economic indicators
Table 1 – General geographic and economic data - Tonga
*UN Population Division**Tonga National account statistics: www.spc.int/prism/country/to/stats
(1) Tonga National account statistics: www.spc.int/prism/country/to/stats
(2) Tonga National account statistics: www.spc.int/prism/country/to/stats
(3) This is the official fishing contribution to GDP – which includes (a) local market component, (b) non-market component, and (c) export component; A recalculation shows the total fishing contribution to be USDD 12.0 million: Gillett (2009). The Contribution of Fisheries to the Economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Pacific Studies Series, Asian Development Bank, Manila
FAO Fisheries statistics
Table 2a – Fisheries data (i) - Tonga
Table 2b – Fisheries data (ii) - Tonga
(4) Data from FAO food balance sheet of fish and fishery products.
(5) The results of a 2003 survey of employment in the country show that there were a total of 34,561 people employed in Tonga, of which 1,050 were employed in the category of “fishing”. Employment in an industry is defined as working at least one hour during the week in the industry. Source: TSD (2004). Report on the Tonga Labour Force Survey 2003. Tonga Statistics Department, Nuku’alofa.
(6) Tonga National account statistics: www.spc.int/prism/country/to/stats
Updated 2010⇧Part II Narrative
This section provides supplementary information based on national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation. References to these sources are provided as far as possible.
Production sectorThe geography of Tonga exerts a large influence on fishing in the country. Tonga is made up of some 150 islands (of which about 36 are inhabited), as well as many smaller islets and reefs. The islands, whose collective land area is about 747 sq. km., are distributed in three main groups - Tongatapu (location of the capital and administrative centre, Nuku’alofa) and neighbouring islands in the south, the Ha’apai group located centrally, and the Vava’u group to the north. Other islands extend the archipelago further north and south beyond the main groups.
Up to the early 1960s domestic demand for fish was almost wholly met through catches from the country’s reefs and lagoons. Subsequently, however, increases in population and fishing effort and the growth of the cash economy have led to overfishing in many inshore areas. Some traditionally important fish, especially mullet, have been reduced to a small fraction of their earlier abundance, and inshore invertebrates such as beche-de-mer, lobsters and giant clams have undergone severe declines, some quite recently. These problems are found throughout Tonga, but are most acute close to population centers or in easily accessible fishing areas.
Insufficient production from coastal fisheries led to several strategies to increase fish production. These mostly started in the 1970s and included outer-islands fish collection schemes, promotion of offshore tuna fishing and deep-slope demersal fish fishing, and attempts to develop aquaculture.
With respect to the current situation, Tonga’s fisheries can be placed into six categories. These categories and the associated production in 2007 are estimated as:
Table 3 – Fisheries production by category – Tonga (2007)
The main trends and important issues in the fisheries sector
The main trends in the sector include:
Some of the major issues in the fisheries sector are:
(7) This is the catch taken by foreign fleet within the Tonga EEZ. In FAO statistics of capture fisheries production, this catch is accounted under the catch of the nation(s) under which the vessel(s) is (are) flagged.
(8) Pearls and giant clams are commonly measured in pieces, rather than kg.Marine sub-sectorThe marine fisheries have two very distinct components, offshore and coastal:Offshore fisheries are undertaken on an industrial scale by locally-based longline vessels. Coastal fishing is primarily carried out for subsistence purposes and for sales in local markets. In addition, there are some coastal fisheries that are export oriented: beche-de-mer, aquarium fish, and deepwater demersal fish.Catch profileThe Tongan longline fleet has reported the following catch of tuna and tuna like species (albacore, bigeye, yellowfin, blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin and swordfish) to the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Commission (WCPFC) are:
Table 4 - Catches by the Tonga longline fleet (tuna and tuna-like species)
Estimates of the volumes and values of the catches of the four main commercial species of tuna in Tonga have been made also by the Forum Fisheries Agency9, using data sourced from the Oceanic Fisheries Program of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. By adding in volumes and values of bycatch, estimates of total catches can be made.
Table 5 - Catches by the Tonga-based longline fleet (tuna plus bycatch)
Estimates of catches from the coastal fisheries vary widely. Indications are that in the first part of the new millennium annual catches were of the order of 3000 tonnes. In 2008 the Asian Development Bank examined a large number of studies on coastal fishing in Tonga, and made catch estimates by extrapolating earlier estimates on the basis of population and fish prices changes as per the Tonga Statistics Department (2007)10. Accordingly, the study determined that a crude estimate of the recent annual production from Tonga’s coastal commercial fisheries is 3 700 tonnes (of which about 700 tonnes was exported), worth about USD11.3 million to the producer (of which about USD2.4 million were for products that were exported). Similarly, the study estimated that the production from coastal subsistence fisheries in Tonga in 2007 was about 2 800 tonnes, worth USD 6.2 million.
(9) FFA (2008). The Value of WCPFC Tuna Fisheries. Unpublished report, Forum Fisheries Agency, Honiara.(10) TSD (2007). Key Statistics. Tonga Statistics Department, Nuku’alofa.Landing sitesThe offshore fishing vessels offload their catch at Nuku’alofa, the main urban area. In the past some of the larger longliners delivered their catch directly to the cannery in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Deep-slope bottom fishing vessels deliver their catch to Nuku’alofa, and to a smaller degree, to Neiafu in Vava’u.
The catch from small-scale commercial fishing is delivered to several locations on Tongatapu (especially in the Nuku’alofa urban area), to Neiafu in Vava’u, and to Lifuka in Ha’apai. Much of the landings at the latter location are for onward shipment to markets in the Nuku’alofa urban area.
Subsistence fishery landings occur at coastal villages throughout the country, roughly in proportion to the distribution of the population.Fishing practices/systemsAll offshore tuna catches in the Tonga EEZ are made by locally-based longliners. These vessels range in size from 18 to 39 metres in length. The WCPFC yearbook of 2009 gave information on the recent evolution of this fleet: 35 longliners in 2002, 22 in 2004, 14 in 2006, 9 in 2008 and 7 in 2009. Fishing trips are usually 5 to 10 days in length for the smaller longliners which use ice to preserve the catch. The larger vessels can stay out for nearly a month and freeze the catch.
Tonga is the leading producer of deep-slope demersal fish in the Pacific Islands region. This fishery has its origins in the exploratory fishing carried out in the 1970s by the FAO and the South Pacific Commission, which was followed up by a comprehensive fisheries development programme by the government and the United Nations Development Program. A report done for the Worldwide Fund for Nature11 contains a description of current deep-slope bottom fishing in Tonga (Box 1).
Box 1 - Deep-slope bottom fishing in Tonga
In September 2009 there were 13 active deepwater bottom fishing vessels (three of which were based in Vava’u). This does not include three vessels that have recently departed the deepwater bottom fishery and commenced fishing for beche-de-mer. The 13 vessel fleet does include 3 vessels that supply only the local market. The original deepwater bottom fishing fleet in the 1980s ranged in size from 21 to 32 feet12. The average vessel length increased from 8.5 meters in 1994 to 10.6 meters in 2002. The current management plan for the fishery states “The total length of vessels licensed for snapper and grouper fisheries must not be more than 15m”.
Other types of coastal commercial fishing use a wide variety of gears. A recent survey13 of fish arriving in Tongatapu from Vava’u and Ha’apai showed that almost half of the fish that arrived was caught by diving, 34 percent from handlining, and around 10 percent from droplining. The rest was caught using various other methods, including netting and gleaning. These results could be considered as indicative of the types of small-scale commercial fishing in the country.
Spear fishing is very important in Tonga. An FAO survey14 in 2006 provides some information on this fishery. The use of underwater torches for night spear fishing appears to have originated in the 1960s. Halapua (1982)15 indicates that spear fishing in Tongatapu (both day and night) was well-established in the 1970s with 57 full-time divers. He also states that most Tongatapu divers at that time had Ha’apai origins. A beche-de-mer boom in Tonga (roughly mid-1980s to mid-1990s) and its associated diving with hookah16 and scuba apparently increased the skills and interest of individuals in this gear, while a beche-de-mer ban in the mid-1990s created a pool of unemployed divers. There are several types of spear fishing in Tonga: predominantly subsistence, small-scale commercial, recreational, and operations that involve many divers on a large vessel. The gear used for spear fishing in the country is not very sophisticated. Fins, masks, and snorkel (often very worn) appear to be used by all divers. Sling spears are far more common than spear guns. Wetsuits are not often used. The Tongatapu spear fishing vessels (mostly 6 to 8 metres in length) are all outboard-powered and most are made of wood and have a small cabin.
The subsistence fishing techniques are similar to those for small-scale commercial fishing: diving, handlining, and netting. Gleaning by women is especially common. A study of women’s fishing activities in Tonga17 showed that the major activities of Tongan women in harvesting marine resources have traditionally been reef gleaning for shellfish, holothurians and echinoderms.
(11) Gillett, R. (2008). Coastal Fisheries in the Pacific Islands Region: Candidates for Marine Stewardship Council Certification. Worldwide Fund for Nature, Suva.(12) Wilson, M. (2007). The Tongan DW Line Fishery 2007 An Assessment of the Need for Fisheries Management. Tonga Fisheries Project.
(13) Lautaha, T. and Cohen, P. (2004). Sampling of Coolers Arriving on Ferries. Ministry of Fisheries, Tonga, unpublished manuscript.
(14) Gillett, R. and W. Moy (2006). Spearfishing in the Pacific Islands: Current Status and Management Issues. FAO FishCode Review No.19, ISSN: 1728-4392, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 72 pages.
(15) Halapua, S. (1982), Fishermen of Tonga – their means of survival. Institute of Pacific Studies and the Institute of Marine Resources. University of the South Pacific, Suva.
(16) Hookah - a colloquial, but widely used, term for a surface supply diving apparatus usually involving the supply of breathing air from a small compressor unit via a free floating air supply hose to a mouth held demand breathing gas supply device.
(17) Walton, H. (1998). Supporting women in fisheries. Tonga Fisheries Sector Review, Volume 2. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome) and Australian Agency for International Development (Canberra).Main resourcesThe WCPFC yearbook showed that albacore dominates, accounting for 34 to 56 percent of the total tuna and tuna-like species longline catch, followed by yellowfin at 24 to 45 percent and bigeye at 8 to 27 percent. An Asian Development Bank report18, based on its review of the catch composition of the locally based longline fleet in the period 2003 to 2007. indicated that the amount of bycatch is about 26 to 32 percent of total catch. Dolphinfish and moonfish accounted for more than 50 percent of this bycatch.
In the deepwater bottom fishery, the major resources are numerous species of snappers, groupers, and other demersal fish. Bell (1994)19 states that the most important deep-slope species landed in Tonga include Aphareus rutilans (rusty jobfish - palu polosi), Aprion virescens (green jobfish - utu), Carangidae (trevallies and jacks - lupo), Etelis carbunculus (short-tailed red snapper - palu malau), E. coruscans (longtail snapper - palu tavake), Epinephelus morrhua (comet grouper - ngatala), E. septemfasciatus (convict grouper - mohuafi), Pristipomoides filamentosus (crimson jobfish - palu hina), P. flavipinnis (golden eye jobfish - palu sio'ata), P. argyrogrammicus (Ornate jobfish), Lethrinus chrysostomus (sweetlip emperor - manga), and Gymnocranius radiosus.
With respect to coastal commercial fishing, the Ministry of Fisheries’ Inshore Fisheries Statistics programme lists the major reef-fish species landed at the domestic markets (Bell 1994). These include: Unicorn and Surgeon fishes (Acanthuridae), Squirrelfishes (Holocentridae), Wrasses (Labridae), Emperors and Sea-breams (Lethrinidae), Seaperches (Lutjanidae), Goatfishes (Mullidae), Sweetlips (Plectorhynchidae), Parrotfishes (Scaridae), Rabbitfishes (Siganidae), Half-peak parrotfishes (Sparisomidae), Sea-pikes (Sphyraenidae), Drummerfishes (Kyphosidae), Rock-cods (Epinephelidae), Silver-biddy (Gerridae), Trigerfishes (Balistidae), Bullseyes (Priacanthidae), and Majors (Abudefdufidae).
Quantitative information on the species composition in the Tongatapu spearfishing catch is given in Vaikona et al. (1997)20:
Table 6 - The Five major species caught by diving - Tonga
In a World Bank study, residents of six coastal communities in Tonga were asked to name the three subsistence fishery resources of most importance to them. Seven resources were most often cited: finfish, octopus, lobster, beche-de-mer, turbo, giant clams, seaweed, and Anadara.
(18) Halafihi, T. and U. Fa’anunu (2008). Tonga Tuna Fishery Annual Report to SC4 Papua New Guinea, 22nd August 2008. Working Paper 29, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Scientific Committee, Fourth Regular Session, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
(19) Bell, L. (1994). Fishery Resource Profiles – Kingdom of Tonga. Report 94/5, Forum Fisheries Agency, Honiara.
(20) Vaikona, L., V. Kava, and U. Fa’anunu (1997). Inshore Fisheries Statistics Annual Report 1996. Ministry of Fisheries, Kingdom of Tonga. Management applied to main fisheriesTonga is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission that was established by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The Convention entered into force in June 2004.
The management of the offshore fishery, deep-slope bottom fishery, aquarium fish, and beche-de-mer is undertaken through the framework of formal management plans. The management of other coastal fisheries is less formalized; the management framework consists of the Fisheries Act, various regulations, and the policies of the ministry responsible for fisheries.
A major feature of resource management in Tonga is the open access nature of Tonga’s inshore fisheries. Basically, all Tongans can fish anytime/anywhere, with few restrictions on participation. Petelo et al. (1995)21 summarizes the situation (Box 2).
Box 2 - Open access in Tonga’s inshore fisheries
The current Tonga National Tuna Management and Development Plan was enacted in 2002 by the Minister responsible for fisheries. The stated objectives of the conservation, management and development of the tuna fishery are to: (a) ensure that the utilization of Tonga’s national tuna resource is compatible with the sustainable harvesting of the tuna stocks throughout their range; (b) maximize economic benefits to Tonga from the utilization of its tuna resources, including harvesting and processing; and (c) contribute to the food security of Tongan subjects and, through the sustainable utilization of the tuna stocks.
The current Snapper and Grouper Fisheries Management Plan was endorsed by cabinet in 2007. The Plan gives the following objectives:
The objectives for the management of the other coastal fisheries are not consolidated in a single document. In general, the objectives are required to conform to the Fisheries Management Act 2002. That law requires that measures promote the objective of optimum utilization and to achieve economic growth, human resource development, employment creation and sound ecological balance. In practice, the purposes of many management measures for coastal fisheries are to prevent resource collapse, deter destructive fishing, and to mitigate threats to the flow of food from coastal fisheries.
Management measures and institutional arrangements
Various management measures are used for the different fishery categories:
The Fisheries Division is responsible for formulating management measures and (after approval by the minister responsible for fisheries) implementing the measures. Until the late 1990s there was little consultation with fishery stakeholders on the need for, and form of, management measures. In the previous decade the concept of consultation with stakeholders has been embedded in legislation and management plans (see Box 3)
Box 3 - Institutionalization of stakeholder input in the management of the snapper fishery*
The open access nature of inshore fishing areas in Tonga creates special problems for fisheries management (see box on open access above). The net effect of open access and associated lack of community control is that the conditions do not encourage a long-term relationship with the resource. The first-come-first-served regime now prevailing is an incentive to harvest as much as possible, as fast as possible. A pilot project is underway in which selected communities are given some degree of management control in their inshore fishing areas. In section 13 of the Fisheries Management Act 2002, the Minister may declare any area of the fisheries waters and corresponding subjacent area to be a “Special Management Area” (SMA). Additionally, section 14 of the Act states that the Minister may designate any local community in Tonga to be a coastal community for the purposes of community based fisheries management. These provisions in the Act are the cornerstones of community based initiatives and sustainable development. In 2006 the three pilot communities in Ha'apai were selected for this programme: ‘O’ua, Felemea and Ha’afeva. Those communities formulate a management plan and have a legal foundation for implementing the plan. Subsequently, three other communities have applied and been selected to join the programme. There is the intention of expanding the programme to other parts of Tonga.
The main institutions involved with fisheries management are the Fisheries Division (formerly, the Ministry of Fisheries) and the Fisheries Advisory Committee. The Fisheries Act 2002 specifies that the Minister shall, in consultation with the Fisheries Advisory Committee, determine the total allowable catch or total allowable level of fishing with respect to any stock of fish subject to the provisions of this Act or as provided in a fisheries management agreement.
In practice, the major fisheries (tuna, deepwater bottomfish, beche-de-mer, aquarium fish) have management plans that establish committees that are dedicated to the specific fishery. For example, the tuna management plan states “stakeholders are to be represented in the Tuna Management Committee which will advise the Secretary and the Minister on the management of the tuna resources.”
Other institutions that are important in the management of fisheries are the Fishing Industry Association of Tonga (represents the larger fishing companies), and the Tonga National Fishing Association (represents mainly the smaller fishing operations). For enforcement of management measures the important institutions are the Tonga Police and the Tonga Defense Services.
(21) Petelo, A, S. Matoto, and R. Gillett (1995). The Case for Community-Based Fisheries Management in Tonga. Background Paper 61, Workshop on the Management of Pacific Island Inshore Fisheries, South Pacific Commission, Noumea.
(22) Petelo, A, S. Matoto, and R. Gillett (1995). The Case for Community-Based Fisheries Management in Tonga. Background Paper 61, Workshop on the Management of Pacific Island Inshore Fisheries, South Pacific Commission, Noumea.Fishing communitiesThe concept of “fishermen communities” has limited applicability to Tonga. Nearly all households in coastal villages are involved in coastal fishing activities. It could therefore be stated that all coastal villages in Tonga are “fishing communities”. Inland sub-sectorThe lack of large freshwater bodies in Tonga results in the freshwater catches being extremely small. Catches of fish in fresh water appear limited to tiny amounts of tilapia in small lakes in the three northern island groups of the country. Aquaculture sub-sectorAquaculture research has been carried out in Tonga for almost 50 years, mostly by the Fisheries Division, with extensive support from a wide range of foreign aid donors. The research carried out has been mostly biological in nature and has covered a wide range of aquaculture candidate species including finfish (tilapia, mullet, mollies, milkfish), molluscs (edible oysters, pearl oysters, mussels, giant clams, green snail, trochus) and algae (Eucheuma and, recently, angel-hair seaweeds). Little economic development has resulted from this work, although there are some promising avenues.
An FAO report explores some of the reasons for the lack of development of aquaculture in Tonga (Box 4)
Box 4 - Some lessons in aquaculture development - Tonga
Recent annual reports of the government fisheries agency and discussion with its staff give information on aquaculture production:
A new aquaculture initiative in Tonga may get around some of the past difficulties in aquaculture development in Tonga. A project with funding from the Australian Center for International Agriculture Research is a partnership between the Tongan Fisheries Division, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and a commercial aquariumfish company. The project is culturing “live-rock” and corals for the aquarium trade. The unique aspect is that, by having a partner with substantial commercial experience in the aquarium trade, the work will focus on what industry wants – to ensure that the efforts are not wasted28.
(23)Fisheries Division (2008). Annual Report for the Year 2007. Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries, Nuku’alofa.
(24) Fisheries Division (2008). Annual Report for the Year 2007. Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries, Nuku’alofa.
(25) Fisheries Department (2007). Annual Report for the Year 2006. Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries, Nuku’alofa.
(26) P. Ngaluafe, personal communication, September 2008
(27) mostly giant clams and some pearls
(28) FIAT (2009). Fish Tales – a monthly publication of FIAT. Fishing Industry Association of Tonga, Nuku’alofa.Recreational sub-sectorAlthough subsistence fishing may have a large social component and be enjoyed by the participants, there is little recreational fishing as a leisure activity for villagers. There are fishing clubs in Tongatapu and Vava’u. Most members of those clubs are expatriate residents of Tonga. Commercial game fishing (mostly open-ocean trolling) is a popular tourist activity, especially in Vava’u where 11 commercial sport fishing vessels are registered.
There is no active management of the recreational sub-sector, with one exception: the Fisheries Act states “No fishing vessel shall be used for reward or hire for sport fishing in the fisheries waters without a commercial sport fishing vessel licence issued by the Secretary”.
The Fisheries Division has plans to formulate a management plan for sport fishing activities.
Post-harvest sectorFish utilizationIn general offshore fishing is export oriented. The high quality fresh bigeye and yellowfin is typically exported to Japan and the USA. Much of the albacore is sent to canneries in American Samoa, although an increasing amount is sold domestically due to high fish prices. The bycatch from the offshore fisheries is consumed locally.
In the coastal fisheries:
Aquaculture production of giant clams is for the aquarium trade in the USA. The cultured pearls are mainly for the tourists that visit Tonga. Fish marketsDomestic fish markets are found in the urban areas of the country. The Nuku’alofa area has one major fish market, several smaller ones, and significant roadside sales. Some fishing companies distribute fish to the restaurant trade.
Currently there is only one exporter of deepwater demersal fish and that company ships exclusively to one buyer in Honolulu, Hawaii. For many decades albacore was shipped to the two canneries in American Samoa, but in 2008, one of those canneries ceased operation. Aquarium fish are handled by agents in the USA affiliated with the local Tongan harvestor/exporter. Although it is known that the destination for Tongan beche-de-mer is China, the marketing arrangements are mostly unknown.
Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sectorRole of fisheries in the national economyA recent study by the Asian Development Bank attempted to quantify the fishery-related benefits received by Tonga. The study gave the available information on the contribution of fishing/fisheries to GDP, exports, government revenue, and employment. The results can be summarized as:
The government has several strategies to increase the national fish supply. These involve supporting the marketing of fishery products in Tongatapu from other parts of the country, deploying offshore fish aggregation devices, promoting aquaculture, and discouraging the use of destructive fishing techniques.
Major factors affecting the local supply of fish are over-fishing, destructive fishing, transport links to the outer islands, and the offloading of fish by the offshore fleet.
The per capita consumption of fish in Tonga, based on the 2007 FAO Food Balance Sheet, is 35.0 kg. Various other studies have made estimates ranging between 25 and 58 kg. Considering Tonga’s population, 35 kg of fish consumption per capita translates into a 2010 demand for 3 627 tonnes of fish.
Factors influencing the future demand for fish are emigration, increase in the price of fish (over-exploitation of inshore areas, gradual devaluation of the local currency, fuel cost increases), relative cost of fish substitutes, and changes in dietary preferences.
TradeExports of fishery products in 2007 were USD 2.8 million and represented about 36 percent of all exports of the country. The major exports by value were tuna (29 percent), live rock29 (21 percent), soft coral (12 percent), deepwater demersal fish (11 percent), and aquarium fish (10 percent).
(29) Live rock’ is a piece of dead coral rock encrusted with coraline algae and other organismsFood securityFish is an important element of food security in Tonga. The FAO Food Balance Sheets show that in 2007 fish contributed an average of 13.5 percent of all protein to the diet and 23.4 percent of animal protein. In rural areas of the country the contributions are much higher.
Animal protein substitutes for fish consist mainly of various types of imported meat, much of which are extremely fatty and have negative health implications. EmploymentTSD (2004)30 gives the results of a 2003 survey of employment in the country. In 2003 there were a total of 34 561 people employed in Tonga, of which 1 050 were employed in the category of “fishing”. Fishing employment therefore represented 3 percent of the employment in the country during that period. Of those employed in fishing, 180 (17 percent) were females.
Tonga Fisheries Project (2005)31 gives the results of the Tongan Seafood Socio Economic Survey. It estimated the number of people engaged in fishing activities: Tongatapu, 6 470; Ha'apai, 2 053; Vava'u, 4 375. The survey gave the percentage of self-employed that are fishers: Tongatapu, 5 percent; Ha'apai, 18 percent; Vava'u, 7 percent. The survey also found that of the households surveyed, about 64 percent at Tongatapu fished for their own supply of seafood and gifts to others. The corresponding figures for Vava’u and Ha’apai were 80 percent and 82 percent, respectively.
An important component of fisheries employment in Tonga are those jobs related to offshore fishing. A study by the Forum Fisheries Agency32 tracked the number of Tongan citizens employed in the country’s offshore fishing industry (both onboard and in processing plants) over a seven-year period:
Table 7 - Employment in the tuna fisheries of Tonga
(30) TSD (2004). Report on the Tonga Labour Force Survey 2003. Tonga Statistics Department, Kuku’alofa.
(31) Tonga Fisheries Project (2005). Tongan Seafood Socio Economic Survey. Tonga Fisheries Project.
(32) Gillett, R. (2008). A Study of Tuna Industry Development Aspirations of FFA Member Countries. Forum Fisheries Agency, Honiara, 70 pages.Rural developmentThe Fisheries Division maintains offices and staff in several locations outside of the main urban area of Nuku’alofa: Vava’u, Ha’apai, ‘Eua, and Niuatoputapu. One of the major objectives of these outposts is to promote fisheries development. This is carried out through a variety of ways, including market facilitation, advice on fisheries management, deployment of offshore fish aggregation devices, and provision of ice-making equipment.
Trends, issues and developmentConstraints and opportunitiesSome of the major constraints of the fisheries sector are:
(33) Gillett, R. (1994). Tonga fisheries bibliography: 1st Revised Edition. Pacific Islands Marine Resource Information System, University of the South Pacific, and Technical Cooperation Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 115 pages
(34) Bell, L. (1994). Fishery Resource Profiles – Kingdom of Tonga. Report 94/5, Forum Fisheries Agency, Honiara.
(35) Gillett, R., P.Cusack, W.Pintz, G.Preston, B. Kuemlangan, C.Lightfoot, H.Walton, and D.James (1998). Tonga Fisheries Sector Review, Volume I: Main Report of the Consultants. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Australian Agency for International Development, 132 pages.Education and trainingEducation related to fisheries in Tonga is undertaken in a variety of institutions:
The largest donor initiative in Tonga’s fisheries sector in recent years was the Tonga Fisheries Project, sponsored by Australia. This multi-year project was completed in 2008 and covered institutional strengthening of the Fisheries Division, renovation of the Fisheries Division offices, offshore/coastal fisheries management, and fisheries legislation.
Japan has been the major donor supporting aquaculture in Tonga. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded the construction of the Tongan Mariculture Centre in 1978, and its refurbishment in 1991 after damage by a major cyclone in 1982. JICA has also provided aquaculture experts, training, materials and operating support to Tonga through in-kind technical assistance programmes. Current donors include the USA (Peace Corps volunteer), the European Union (fish market renovation), Australia (aquaculture), and Japan (fish aggregation devices).
Institutional frameworkThe main government fisheries institution is the Fisheries Division. In the early 1990s the Fisheries Division was elevated to a Ministry of Fisheries, and then in 2006 the Ministry was downgraded to a division within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries.
The current Fisheries Division budget is about T$1.2 million (USD 600 000). There are about 60 established positions. Most of the staff are based at the Fisheries Division complex in Sopu to the west of Nuku’alofa. Additional staffs are located in Vava’u, Ha’apai, ‘Eua, and Niuatoputapu.
Currently, the Fisheries Division has two main sections, Corporate Services and Technical. The various entities under these two sections are:
Some of the important internet links related to fisheries in Tonga are:
Legal frameworkThe main laws related to fisheries and aquaculture in Tonga are the Fisheries Management Act 2002 and the Aquaculture Management Act 2003.
The main features of the Fisheries Management Act 200236 are:
Main features of the Aquaculture Management Act 2003 are:
(36) A minor amendment to the Aquaculture Management Act 2003 was made in 2005, the Aquaculture Management (Amendment) Act 2005. This involved simply inserting the words "or the Waste Management Act 2005" after the words in one section.
Bell, L. 1994. Fishery Resource Profiles – Kingdom of Tonga. Honiara, Forum Fisheries Agency. Report 94/5.
FAO. 2009. Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics: Food balance sheets. In: FAO Yearbook of Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics 2007. Rome, FAO. pp 55-68.
FFA . 2008. The Value of WCPFC Tuna Fisheries. Unpublished report, Forum Fisheries Agency, Honiara.
FIAT. 2009. Fish Tales – a monthly publication of FIAT. Nuku’alofa, Fishing Industry Association of Tonga.
Fisheries Division. 2008. Annual Report for the Year 2007. Nuku’alofa, Tonga, Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries.
Fisheries Department. 2007. Annual Report for the Year 2006. Nuku’alofa, Tonga, Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries.
Gillett. 2009. The Contribution of Fisheries to the Economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Manila, Asian Development Bank. Pacific Studies Series.
Gillett, R. 2008. Coastal Fisheries in the Pacific Islands Region: Candidates for Marine Stewardship Council Certification. Suva, Worldwide Fund for Nature.
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