Ministry of Fisheries concerned for tuna fishing in the Tongan waters
Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 31/10/2018
One of the most important issues for the Ministry of Fisheries is the current standard of tuna fishing in Tonga’s waters and the export of this fish overseas.
The CEO of Fisheries – Dr Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi says the ministry is concerned as they have recorded a significant decrease in the amount of tuna in Tongan waters and he says there are many factors affecting this, including but not limited to – climate change.
Dr Halafihi says they are continuing their work in this area, with 6 local and 3 foreign fishing vessels fishing for tuna in our waters.
He adds since last year there has been a sharp decrease in the number of tuna available in Tongan waters and this has also decreased the amount of tuna being exported.
Dr Halafihi also elaborated on the challenges the ministry faces in carrying out their work in this area, as tuna is not bountiful in Tongan waters, but the little resource that is available has been affected by the impacts of climate change.
But Dr Halafihi believes the locals need to be empowered in their capacity to fish for tuna in Tongan waters, but due to a lack of funds and resources this may seem impossible.
He also highlighted the lack of proper education for the crew of the local fishing vessels, as one of the hindrances to development in this area.
Another challenge is also the illegal fishing, exploiting the resources in Tongan waters, but Dr Halafihi says their work in this area is satisfactory and in recent years has not posed as big a threat as before.
He believes Tonga’s collaboration in regional organization and conventions and treaties also allow for further aid in the development of this sector which is beneficial to the ministry’s work.
© Radio and Television Tonga News