FADs support Vanuatu communities in fisheries

A project initiated several years ago to boost fishing yield through the use of Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) is booming in the rural provinces of Vanuatu.

This year 30 FADs were deployed in rural areas to support the communities’ fisheries development of income and food security needs.

The FAD aggregates tuna and tuna-like species and they were distributed to all islands in the provinces of Tafea and Shefa that were affected by Cyclone Pam in March 2015.

The devices have also been distributed to all fishing active communities and 15 devices are currently in preparation to be placed in waters.

The Director of Fisheries Department, Kalo Pakoa says the FAD system is cheaper now compared to prices in the past.

“FAD is less expensive than say 400-10,000 USD the cost in the past, and logistically easy to deploy using small boats,” said Pakoa.

He says projects are in place to address some of the challenges in the fishing industry.

“Some major challenges that Vanuatu currently face are not having enough fishing boats, challenge of establishing good fish marketing system and no government in Port Vila and Santo to own fish markets.”

“Limited fishing gears in rural areas and the training needed for people involved in fishing is also a major issue,” said Pakoa.

He says over the years the local market demand for fish has increased and it gets difficult to address these needs with the challenges.

He added that disaster-recovery has been a real challenge for the people as Vanuatu has been hit by major cyclones in recent years.

Pakoa says as climate change and cyclones are on the increase, strict fisheries management need to be enforced in order to control and preserve fish stock.

“To deal with climate change we also need to promote sustainable use of fish resources to improve value of fish and minimize wastage to ensure there is enough stock to stand environmental shocks such as climate change,” said Pakoa.

“Offshore fishing for tuna should be developed also to lessen pressure on reef fisheries and set up managed areas to protect coastal fisheries, develop ecotourism activities to add value to enjoying fish renounces without catching them, “added Pakoa.

He said Vanuatu’s population is growing and so is the number of people reported with non-communicable diseases.

He adds Vanuatu needs to encourage people to eat healthy and adding fish in meals is one of the ways of addressing this.

Pakoa also said that the growing tourism market of Vanuatu needs to focus on the future of fishing industry.

“Fish is important for tourism industry and we need to protect them for future,” said Pakoa.

“Vanuatu is also an IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing free country and we want to make sure that our fleet practices responsible fishing globally and foreign vessels accessing our waters respect our national laws and practice sustainable fishing,” he explained.

Vanuatu Fisheries Department plans to complete the process to get Sino-Van fish processing plan into operation by end of 2017 to boost the fishing industry, says Pakoa.

Completion of construction of fisheries wharfs to support foreign fishing vessel to unload fish in Port Vila is also included in the plans.

Vanuatu Fisheries is planning to set up nationally-owned fish markets in Port Vila and Santo, revive operation of fish markets in provincial centers and complete registration of domestic fishing boats and licensing of these boats.

It also aims to set up inspection of markets and fishing boats to clamp down on illegal fishing activities and support to establish rural fish preservation facilities in rural areas.

Photo by: UNDP Pacific/Donald Wouloseje (Fish Aggregate Devices were deployed successfully and used two days later to catch fish by trolling and bottom fishing in Vanuatu)

Author: Anishma Prasad