24 February 2023
A Pacific Community (SPC) led NZ$25 million regional partnership aimed at enabling Pacific nations to adapt their tuna fisheries to the impacts of climate change was announced today by the New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Carmel Sepuloni.
Announcing the programme, Hon Carmel Sepuloni said, “The impact of climate change on tuna is a regional concern and requires a collective and coordinated response. This Pacific regional partnership fund will provide critical support for Pacific countries to protect their economic futures through the preservation of their tuna fisheries. New Zealand supports Pacific-led solutions to shared challenges, and recognises the value of delivering these solutions through regional organisations, such as SPC.”
The ‘Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access’ programme, will support the region's efforts to manage its valuable tuna resources in the face of climate change related challenges.
Tuna is a crucial source of income and food for many Pacific Island countries and territories. Ensuring the current sustainable levels of fishing continue is essential to the region's economic and social well-being.
However, the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures and changing ocean currents, are affecting tuna populations and the communities that depend on them. This project will work to improve our understanding of future climate impacts on tuna, and support decision making to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the region's tuna fisheries.
"This new programme represents a significant investment in the future of Pacific tuna fisheries," said Dr. Stuart Minchin, Director-General of Pacific Community (SPC).
“SPC’s Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access’ programme is the first step in developing a Pacific-owned advanced warning system to forecast with cutting-edge accuracy where - due to ocean warming - tuna will move”.
“The ‘Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access’ programme will support Pacific island countries and territories to proactively monitor and manage their fisheries and pinpoint this climate change-induced tuna migration.
It will put Pacific Island nations at the forefront of fisheries monitoring enabling them to negotiate ongoing access to this vital resource and build sustainable fishing industries for the regions ongoing food security,” Dr Minchin said.
The programme will work with Pacific Island countries and territories to develop and implement new technologies and innovative approaches to monitor fish populations and support research on the impacts of climate change on tuna, informing and enabling the development of climate-smart adaptive management strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the region's tuna fisheries.
The project will run for 3.5 yrs. It will be implemented by SPC and will involve collaboration with national governments, regional organizations, and the Pacific tuna fishing industry.