The Coastal team of the Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD), consulted with the Funafuti community just before Christmas to review the current status of the Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan (FRFSP).
This FRFSP consultation started with speeches from heads of the Funafuti Community, Chief Executive officer of the Ministry of Fisheries and Trade, Mr Nikolasi Apinelu and Mr Samasoni Finikaso, Director of Fisheries.
There followed by presentations on the current progress of the FRFSP from TFD officers, and Funafuti Conservation Area (FCA) officer representing from the Funafuti Town Council. The RIDGE to Reef (R2R) officer also presented and outlined their linkage with the FRFSP with their contributions and support provided to the Funafuti community.
There was an open discussion, suggestions and recommendations at the end of the presentations to improve the future operation of the FRFSP.
This FRFSP was first initiated through this Fisheries Monitoring and Management Consultation (FMMC). There were a total of four consultations in 2017. This was the first series of FRFSP consultation established to alert the public on the condition of the reef and inshore marine resources in Funafuti and to start the process of recovering back to fertile levels.
The Pacific Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP), under the World Bank, supported the FRFSP in terms of providing financial assistance to implement activities and equipment.
The TFD First and Second creel reports show that inshore fisheries in Funafuti are overfished. In the first report “A total of 14,508 specimens were landed and measured just in Funafuti during the study, including 180 species of fishes. Of the 22 species that could be evaluated for signs of overfishing, 13 (60% of species) had 50% or more of the catch under the size of maturity”.
Senior Fisheries officer for Coastal division on Funafuti Mr Sitia Maheu said: “The TFD and Funafuti Council are urging the Funafuti community and other island communities who resides on Funafuti to comply with the Funafuti Reef Fish Stewardship Plan and other Regulations to return the abundance of reef fishes in Funafuti”.
The TFD is and will continue to work in cooperating with the Funafuti community, Funafuti Town Council, R2R and PROP to ensure the future operation and effectiveness of the FRFSP.
Marine resources are the primary source of protein for the people of Tuvalu and therefore the Tuvalu Fisheries Department is working to manage and monitor inshore fisheries for the livelihoods and food security for the whole of Tuvalu.