Samudra Report

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Issue No:81
  • :0973–1121
  • :June
  • :2019

Samudra Report No.81, June 2019

COMMENT

Turn the Tide

Subsistence fisheries are an important source of nutrition, culture and welfare for communities in the Western and Central Pacific region, and ought to be protected

No other part of the world has a small population dispersed over such a vast ocean area. In the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, 11 million people live in 14 independent countries and eight territories, spread over 28 million sq km of ocean space. Their total land area is less than 2 per cent of the combined ocean area. Subsistence, coastal, artisanal, semi-industrial and industrial fisheries coexist in the region, harvesting species ranging from sedentary molluscs to shared, highly migratory tuna stocks. The fishing areas range from lagoons, reefs, shoals, archipelagic, internal and territorial waters, to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the high seas.

Distant-water and national offshore fishing fleets dominate in terms of employment, revenue, income and foreign exchange in this region. They contribute 90 per cent of the fish catch in the region. Coastal commercial and small-scale fisheries (or subsistence coastal fisheries) are no less important.

Lagoons, reefs and shoals—the gleaning ground of subsistence fisheries—are significant sources of food and nutrition for the...

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