Think tank highlights implications of climate-driven tuna redistribution for Pacific Islands

Think tank highlights implications of climate-driven tuna redistribution for Pacific Islands

In July 2019, ANCORS assisted Conservational International (CI) to organise a ‘think tank’ to explore the implications of projected climate-driven redistribution of tuna caught by purse-seine fishing in the Pacific Island region.

The think tank examined the latest modelling of the effects of climate change on the distributions of skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna by the Oceanic Fisheries Programme at the Pacific Community (SPC). It also assessed preliminary evaluations of the economic implications for tuna-dependent Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) undertaken by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and CI.

The modelling shows that the total catch of tuna - in the exclusive economic zones of the 10 Pacific SIDS where most purse-seine fishing occurs - could decrease by 10% (140,000 tonnes) by 2050 as a greater proportion of the fish move eastwards and into high-seas areas. As a result, these SIDS could incur a combined loss of more than USD60 million in licence revenue per year, and annual losses of up to 15% in total national government revenue.

The think tank concluded that concerted efforts are needed to raise awareness of this problem so that solutions can be developed to enable Pacific SIDS to retain the benefits they receive from tuna, regardless of climate-driven redistribution of these valuable fisheries resources.

The think tank produced a Fact Sheet and a Policy Brief explaining this issue in more detail.

These informative materials were tabled at the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Tuvalu.

ANCORS encourages further, widespread dissemination of these documents to help raise awareness of this important implication of climate change, and the need to assist the many tuna-dependent Pacific Island economies to find solutions.