In order to allow our inshore ecosystems to recover from decades of abuse it is necessary to stop fishing within the lagoon. The fishermen described in the article below are fishing outside the lagoon but the sustainability of their trade is being undermined by irresponsible government policy. It is high time that our natural assets are properly protected by the enforcement of laws against polluting discharges and the implementation of proper controls on foreign fishing vessels.
Fishermen across the country fear for the future – and they base their concerns on the past.
Some fishermen we spoke to claim that catches are down as much as 80% over the past five years.
They point to three main reasons: pollution, illegal fishing and climate change.
Statistics reveal that total fish production fell by 7.4%, from 3,143 tonnes in first six months of 2009 to 2,910 tonnes in the same period this year.
There was a drop of 17.7% in the catch of tuna and bank fish, from 2,108 tonnes to 1,734 tonnes.
Tuna is the main species caught by fishermen as the authorities have encouraged them to shift from artisanal fishing to off-lagoon activities. The situation does not look good at all.