SPC warns of threat to fisheries from Covid-19

The Pacific Community, or SPC, says having decimated tourism, Covid-19 is also posing a threat to the region's fisheries

The director of the SPC's fisheries division, Neville Smith, said they were working to minimise the impact on the tuna fishery, the coastal fishery and on aquaculture.

Mr Smith said exports from fisheries and Pacific food security were now more important than ever.

He said fisheries observers not being able to travel, along with port closures, were a threat to the finances of the hugely important tuna fishery.

"SPC is continuing to provide advice to FFA, the Forum Fisheries Agency, who work on the management of the tuna fishery and SPC provides the science and technical advice to them," he said.

The pandemic was also driving people back to more subsistence living which in turn placed pressure on coastal fisheries, Mr Smith said.

"What are some of the other tasks that we can actually complete right now? For instance, updating manuals on how to use FADs [Fish Aggregating Devices] in the near-shore fisheries."

He said increased domestic demand and ensuring the ongoing supply of feed into countries was posing challenges for aquaculture.

"But also that in-country that feed can continue to move. Say, in the Fiji context, from areas outside the lock-down to areas inside the lock-down while still maintaining human bio-security as is entirely appropriate with Covid-19."