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Securing coastal fisheries in the Pacific: Critical resources for food, livelihood and community security

Veitayaki, Joeli (2021) Securing coastal fisheries in the Pacific: Critical resources for food, livelihood and community security. Development Bulletin, 82 . pp. 56-60. ISSN 1035-1132

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The deteriorating health of Pacific coastal fisheries represents insurmountable security challenges. Years of increasing use and production with little concern for the ecological wellbeing of fisheries resources have resulted in altered and polluted habitats and resource depletion. In addition, Pacific nations have to secure their maritime zones and their resources from better organised, equipped and often unscrupulous operators. They also need to give serious attention to their coastal fisheries. Coastal areas in the Pacific host important habitats, such as sand and mudflats, seagrass beds, mangroves and coral reefs, all of which must be effectively managed to support the diverse ecological, economic, cultural and social interests of the people. These coastal fisheries provide food security and nutrition, community resilience, economic growth and employment, poverty alleviation and the empowerment of local communities. They are under threat. They consist of subsistence, artisanal and commercial fisheries, as well as aquaculture and recreational fishing – activities that are important but poorly understood despite their economic importance. Coastal fisheries include a diverse range of traditional and contemporary fishing methods and gear that reflect the multiple species fished and are also home to unique marine biodiversity and commercial activities that are vulnerable to intensive resource use. Unfortunately, Pacific islanders have not effectively managed these critical resources and sources of livelihood, causing their decline and eventual collapse. These fisheries are not expected to cope with the combined devastating impact of climate change, over exploitation and worsening pollution. In addition to these challenges, Pacific small island developing states (SIDS) are scattered across the world’s largest ocean where tropical cyclones, storms, floods and droughts represent security threats that Pacific citizens must address to effectively manage their coastal fisheries. Additional security threats such as environmental degradation, globalisation, organised crime, demographic changes, deficient state capacity, poor governance, eroding social cohesion and political crises must also be addressed to ensure the security and continuity of coastal fisheries. Activities required to secure coastal fisheries include controlling overfishing and the degradation of coastal habitats, and empowering all involved stakeholders to be responsible for the health of the coastal environment. In addition, COVID-19 has redefined security in an interdependent world and has reminded humanity that environmental resources have limits that cannot be crossed. COVID-19 has also heightened the need to reconsider our development strategies and the need to focus on the sustainable use of natural resources to support economic development and the wellbeing of our communities. This paper considers the way forward to ensure the long-term security of access to fisheries stocks that are vital to Pacific livelihoods and economies.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions: School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS)
Depositing User: Fulori Nainoca - Waqairagata
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2021 00:11
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2021 00:11

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