Fisheries of the Pacific Islands – Regional and national information

This document Fisheries of the Pacific Islands: Regional and national information provides a recent update of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Pacific Region. The document consists of 2 main parts: a regional overview; and fisheries and aquaculture country profiles for the 14 independent Pacific Island countries. It consolidates a variety of sources of information into a single coherent review, to provide a general understanding of the status of fisheries and aquaculture in the Pacific Islands.

The Pacific Island region consists of fourteen independent countries and eight territories located in the western and central Pacific Ocean. In this area there are about 200 high islands and some 2 500 low islands and atolls.


The main categories of marine fishing in the area are:

  • Offshore fishing. This is undertaken mainly by large, industrial-scale fishing vessels. Approximately 1 100 of these vessels operate in the exclusive economic
    zones (EEZs) of Pacific Island countries, mainly using purse-seine and longline gear to catch tuna.
  • Coastal fishing. This can be divided into three categories:
    1. small-scale commercial fisheries (also referred to as “artisanal”), which can be further subdivided into those supplying domestic markets, and those producing export commodities;
    2. subsistence fisheries, which support rural economies and are extremely important to the region’s nutrition and food security; and
    3. industrial-scale shrimp fisheries, which in the region occur only in Papua New Guinea.

The region’s fishery resources can be broadly split into two main categories: oceanic, and coastal or inshore.

Oceanic resources

Oceanic resources include tunas, billfish and allied species.

They are characterized by an open-water pelagic habitat and potentially extensive individual movements.

Coastal or inshore resources

Coastal or inshore resources include a wide range of finfish and invertebrates. They are characterized by their shallow-water habitats or demersal lifestyles, and restriction of individual movements to coastal areas.

This paper discusses these resource categories, with a focus on the major types of fishing, the important species, the status of the resources, and the fisheries management that occurs. This report also provides information on the fisheries in each of the 14 independent Pacific Island countries in the following categories:

  • Overview and main indicators
  • Production sector
  • Post-harvest sector
  • Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sector
  • Trends, issues and development
  • Institutional framework
  • Legal framework

Fisheries of the Pacific Islands – Regional and national information – FAO FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE TECHNICAL PAPER 625

Robert Gillett, Fisheries Specialist, Suva, Fiji and Mele Ikatonga Tauati, Junior Professional Officer (Small-scale Fisheries)

Fisheries of the Pacific Islands - Regional and national information

Download pdf here:  Pacific Fisheries ver Apr 2018 (2.8MB)

  • ISBN 978-92-5-130527-0
  • ISSN 2070-7010
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