Pacific Island countries and territories are ‘large ocean states’ with long coastlines relative to land area. Their natural assets support some of the largest oceanic fisheries and most diverse coastal fisheries in the world:
Oceanic fisheries consist of local and foreign industrial vessels targeting tropical tuna. The average tuna catch from Pacific Island exclusive economic zones (EEZs) is over 1.5 million tonnes per year, which supplies over 30% of the global tuna market. Economically, oceanic fisheries are vital to the region as a source of economic growth and foreign exchange reserves essential to governments’ ability to deliver their core services, and a source of decent employment for women and men and small business opportunities.
Coastal fisheries support large numbers of subsistence and artisanal fishers who catch fish and shellfish mainly from coral reefs for livelihoods and food. Coastal fisheries are vitally important at community level, providing food security, livelihoods and income for small-scale fishers with more than 60% of households in coastal areas relying on fishing as a mechanism for poverty reduction.