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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Increasing human population in Pacific Island urban areas pose risk to fish supply: SPC

Increasing human populations in Pacific Island urban areas near fishing grounds is affecting the supply of food fish. The population of the Pacific Islands region is estimated to increase by 50% by 2030. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Coastal Fisheries Programme warns that the risk to food security is gradually increasing.

Coastal Fisheries Programme Manager Lindsay Chapman told the 38th meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA) in Noumea that this is a medium- to long-term worry in many places, as the gap widens between the growing nutritional and livelihood needs of increasing human populations and the production capacity of coastal fisheries ecosystems.

Pacific Island communities depend heavily on fish for their dietary protein. Fish consumption in the region is about 65 kg per person compared with the average global consumption of about 16 kg per person per year.

Mr Chapman pointed out other, more immediate, coastal fishery worries such as export fisheries. He cited as an example, large specimens of certain giant clams, which are hovering on the verge of extinction.

“Most of these coastal export fisheries are the focus of, or are in need of, specific, immediate management action, either to conserve their biological status or recover their potential value,“ Mr Chapman said in his report.

He said that in some cases there would be a need for collaboration between different islands and countries for a regionally harmonised level of information-sharing and decision-making.

Source: SPC

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