The SPC Fisheries Newsletter / by Francisco Blaha

For many years now my friend and colleague Aymeric Desurmont (SPC's Fisheries Information Specialist) has been in charge of the SPC Fisheries Newsletter. In this world full of fisheries misinformation, this newsletter is a must read for the region, and I personally think that it should be celebrated and acknowledged way more than it is at the present.

fishing for food and fun in Noro

fishing for food and fun in Noro

The newsletter is always interesting reading as it offers varied topics pertaining from the region in a very scientific manner, but also has a "person" approach to some of the topics. We so easily forget that fisheries are as much about people, as it is about fish. 

Thank you SPC and thank you Aymeric for your excellent work over the years. My total respect for that!

The Number 152 (January–April 2017) is here, and the editorial below

Participants of the SPC Heads of Fisheries Meeting, in March (see article here), highlighted the need to raise the profile of coastal fisheries, given their importance for food security in the Pacific Islands region, and concluded that coastal fisheries should find a higher place in the list of priorities of their governments and donor agencies. I’m not sure if it is already a side effect of this call, but the list of articles we received for this issue certainly highlights the importance and diversity of coastal fisheries-related work being done in our region.

The fishery sector includes some of the most dangerous jobs in the world, globally causing over 20,000 deaths per year. But, in the public’s mind, this danger is more associated with industrial fishing in extreme weather conditions than with artisanal fishing in relatively benign tropical waters. Nevertheless, anyone who has ventured outside the reef on a small outboard-powered boat is well aware that disaster is never far away. Engine failure combined with offshore winds can make for a very long and possibly fatal drift.

In Tuvalu, three drifting fishermen were saved by the activation of personal locator beacons, devices they had received from their government as part of a safety “grab bag” (see articles here and here). Each grab bag cost USD 1,200 – a very minor investment when compared to the cost of air search and rescue, or the loss of a life. The Tuvaluan government decided that the safety of artisanal fishers was a high priority. Three fishermen and their families will be forever thankful for this wise decision