Protecting Tonga’s tuna resources

Ways to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Tonga’s waters to protect tuna resources were discussed at a three day workshop held by Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) officials in Tonga from 25-29 January 2016.

Tuna is a multi-billion dollar resource industry in the Pacific and the FFA facilitates regional cooperation on the feasible use of tuna to benefit Pacific countries.

Vilimo Fakalolo, Acting CEO for Tonga’s Fisheries Department, said the workshop was the result of an agreement last year with FFA, to provide assistance when required.

“The outcome of the workshop included the drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding between Tonga’s Fisheries Department and the Tongan Navy regarding surveillance; and the implementation of the Monitoring, Controlling and Surveillance Strategy for Tonga,” he said.

FFA MCS Programme advisor Peter Graham and FFA Monitoring Control Surveillance Specialist Ferral Lasi worked with the Ministry of Fisheries team, led by Losalini Lotoahea.

Tonga’s undeclared Exclusive Economic Zone is approximately 700,000 km2 compared to its land area of 747 km2