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Shifting tuna grounds differing views PNG Fisheries Minister
11:24 pm GMT+12, 05/09/2019, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea could lose up to 37 percent of its tuna stocks by 2050.
 
This is expected to slash about half its tuna earnings due to the effects of climate change, as PNG is under a high emissions scenario, a study has revealed.
 
This entails that by 2050, PNG’s tuna earnings will have been drastically reduced from US$128.8m (2016 earning) to USD$81.1m that is a 47.7 percent drop in revenue.
 
The report from Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) for 2019, titled Implications of climate-driven redistribution of tuna for Pacific Island economies, states that based around facts landmasses are submerging and poses dangers of the shrinkage of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) that are reducing tuna grounds.
 
The report states that by 2050 there is a projected eastward redistribution of skipjack and yellowfin tuna which will reduce the total tuna catch within the combined EEZs of the 10 Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs) where most purse-seine occurs by approximately 10 percent.
 
In that scenario, the report added that these countries should identify how to maintain the benefits from tuna in the face of the impacts of climate change as essential for their economies.
 
However Papua New Guinea Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr Lino Tom said there are differing views on the issue of climate change as a major factor that could threaten PNG’s major tuna stocks shifting with warmer waters to the east of the region.
 
The Minister said this when asked about the research and view from regional bodies asserting the possibility of PNG losing up to 37 percent of its tuna stocks by 2050.
 
“Let’s say there are differing views on that. Some people say that because of that climate change the fish are actually forming going to the warmer part of the ocean and moving eastward, but there are varying views on that as well.
 
“Some others think that this is just being brought up by the industry to give us a picture that we are losing fishing grounds.
 
“So there is no convincing scientific evidence of fish migrating eastward,” Minister Tom said.  
 
The research based report was highlighted during the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu last month which a policy brief from Pacific Tuna Forum partner, SPC was distributed alongside the Forum Fisheries Agency’s (FFA) tuna report for Pacific leaders. Since 2015 when Pacific leaders adopted the Regional Roadmap for Sustainable Fisheries, FFA has been providing an annual report card to Leaders on the state of the Pacific tuna fishery and SPC providing coastal fisheries reports as well.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS


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