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By Francisca Anania

Pacific Fisheries Ministers have called for consideration and action on fisheries in United Nations Framework on Climate Change COP28 meetings, as the world’s biggest and healthiest tuna stock faces potential depletion because of climate change. Pacific Oceans Commissioner, Dr Filimon Manoni, made the call to large carbon emitting countries in a panel discussion at the Moana Blue
Pacific Pavilion at the 28 th COP28 hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

Focusing on challenges and responsibilities faced by Forum Fisheries Agency’s 17 member nations, who not only produce a third of the world’s tuna, but have successfully managed their major tuna stocks – the healthiest stocks of Big Eye, Yellow Fin, Albacore, and Skipjack in the world.

The latest scientific advice revealed that 20% of Tuna is predicted to move from the Pacific Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zones, into high seas. However, if the temperatures are kept below 1.5 degrees, the migration of tuna stocks would be about 3 percent.

John Silk said the predicted tuna migration to higher would be problematic for his country, which earns at least $40 million from selling fishing licenses. He added that climate change would also impact food security for people who depend on nearshore fishing. Kiribati, which is 90% ocean, depends heavily on tuna for its national revenue and food security.

FFA Director General, Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen said the loss of biomass would significantly affect national revenues, underlining that the total government revenue in 2022 was around US$480 million. The session concluded calling for continued collaboration to address challenges posed by climate change, and to safeguard the Pacific’s invaluable tuna fisheries.

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