Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission

Fisheries of the Pacific Islands Regional and national information

Category Overviews, statistics & assessments

The Pacific Island region consists of fourteen independent countries and eight territories located in the western and central Pacific Ocean. In this area there are about 200 high islands and some 2 500 low islands and atolls.

The main categories of marine fishing in the area are:

  • Offshore fishing. This is undertaken mainly by large industrial-scale fishing vessels. Approximately 1 500 of these vessels operate in the EEZs of Pacific Island countries, mainly using purse seine, longline, and pole-and-line gear to catch tuna.
  • Coastal fishing. This can be divided into three categories: (1) Small-scale commercial fishing (also referred to as “artisanal”) which can be further sub-divided into those supplying domestic markets, and those producing export commodities; (2) Subsistence fisheries, which support rural economies and are extremely important to the region’s nutrition and food security; and (3) The industrial-scale shrimp fisheries, which in the region only occur in Papua New Guinea.

The region’s fishery resources can be broadly split into two main categories: oceanic, and coastal or inshore. Oceanic resources include tunas, billfish and allied species. They are characterized by an open-water pelagic habitat, potentially extensive individual movements. Coastal or inshore resources include a wide range of finfish and invertebrates. They are characterized by their shallow water habitats or demersal life-styles, and restriction of individual movements to coastal areas. This paper discusses these resource categories. Information is provided on the major types of fishing, the important species, the status of those resources, and the fisheries management that occurs.

The report also provides information on the fisheries in the 14 independent Pacific Island countries in following categories:

  • General geographic and economic data
  • Fisheries data
  • Fishery sector structure
  • Post-harvest use
  • Fishery sector performance
  • Fishery sector development
  • Fishery sector institutions
  • General legal framework