Palau seeks opportunities to get more value out of its tuna fisheries that will also contribute to Palau’s food security and the tourism industry

Palau is looking at opportunities to get more value from tuna fisheries, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Steven Victor said. 

He said that much value can be obtained with Palau utilising four types of fishing purse seine fishing, longline fishing,  pole and line, and trolling. 

Longlines target a variety of tuna species albacore, bigeye, yellowfin, and bluefin, and these kinds of tuna can generate a much higher value in International markets, the minister added. 

“We’re looking at opportunities of how do we get more value out of it by  looking at business models and onshore processing approaches.” 

Adding those tuna fisheries also contributes to Palau’s food security and the tourism industry. 

The pole and line, he said could help  Palau’s food security, because it’s targeting skipjack which is much more affordable to the local market, Government is eyeing more access to fishing grounds. 

He said it is important for this government to improve ocean management and increase benefits from fishing.   

Minister said while the government aims to expand economic benefits from fisheries it doesn’t mean is it rolling back conservation. 

“We are not against conservation. Conservation has a big role to play in sustainable fisheries. So I think you can achieve conservation by establishing a more sustainable fishery that is highly regulated. You can achieve conservation, but you really cannot achieve sustainable fishery by just focusing on conservation,” he said. 

He cited the example of the work done in the Northern Reef where only about 38 percent of their roofs are actually protected and the remaining is regulated fishing, showing the balance between conservation and allowing fishing operation. 

He said an effective ocean management measure, there is still an opportunity for Palau to generate more revenues while ensuring fishery is still done in sustainable ways. 

Adding there are also regional fishing management organisations that will ensure their members use sustainable ways to manage their ocean and comply with international and regional arrangements. 

This story was originally published at Island Times on 20 May 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.  

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