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Samoa Minister launches major fisheries initiatives

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt. [Samoa Gov't website]

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, launched four major initiatives to boost the development of the Fisheries sector last week.

Held at the Fisheries Wharf, the initiatives included:

• Launch of Samoa’s Tuna Management and Development Plan 2017 – 2021

• Revival of the Fish Aggregating Devices (F.A.Ds) Project 

• Dedication of the repair work of research vessel the FV Ulimasao 

• Provision of 20 tablets to monitor soon to be deployed F.A.Ds

Speaking about the National Tuna Management and Development Plan, La’auli acknowledged that the industry is facing major challenges to realise its desired benefits and returns. 

“These challenges include increasing fishing effort throughout the tuna fishery uncontrolled fishing on the high seas and illegal, Unreporting and Unregulated, or IUU fishing operations having an impact on the vulnerable fishing industry,” he said.  

“We have been experiencing fluctuations in catches over the past years with our Government providing support to the industry many factors contribute to the various levels of catches especially the amount of fish available in our small EEZ, and most importantly the biological and migratory nature of tuna stocks.”

Changes in technology and the ability to apply more pressure on the stocks, initiated regional and global mechanisms to manage the tuna stocks. Our National Tuna Management and Development Plan 2017 – 2021 is our commitment to that course.”

The Minister said the Plan outlines the government’s commitment over the next five years to develop and manage tuna resources to maximize economic and social benefits.

“The plan generally covers two key areas. Firstly the management of our tuna resources particularly the licensing arrangements for the tuna long line fishery. Secondly the future development of our tuna industry to sustain and maximize the economic benefits and participation of Our People in the fishery.” 

“It provides a policy framework for sustainable development and effective management actions. For the first time, a harvest strategy is being developed as a management tool for our country to meet our regional obligations under regional arrangements and more importantly controls tuna catches for our country.” 

Also mitigation measures are being put in place to minimize incidental catches of sharks and species of special interest in ensuring they are safely released back into the ocean.

Read more at Samoa Observer