Saturday, 12 December 2009

Pacific multi-billon dollar Fisheries sector faces harsh future: Commonwealth report

Geoffrey Smith, FijiTV, Climate Pasifika media
Saturday 12 December 2009 COPENHAGEN--
Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands who both depend on their fisheries industry as a major source of foreign income risk losing their entire industries to climate change impacts, according to a  joint study by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).  
Scientist Dr Allan Stewart explained that with current temperatures shifts, it's likely that common tuna stock found in the central tropics of the Pacific will shift towards the poles.
Nations are already heavily dependent on fish not just for foreign exchange but also for daily sustenance. They now face a sobering reality, the World Fish Centre says. The ICTSD has reinforced the need for small island pacific states to diversify their economies.
Aid for Trade is now increasingly becoming common in the region with large trading blocs like the European Union signing trade agreements with Fiji and Papua New Guinea only yesterday here on the fringes of COP15. The ICTSD says it's an approach the region must also tread very carefully on.--ENDS

TRANSCRIPT:Gloria Carron - Program Officer, ICTSD
Because small island economies in general are highly dependent on specific sectors like banana and sugar etcetera, this makes them extremely vulnerable to shocks like the financial economic crisis as well as climate change challenges.  So this is one of the ways that these countries can build climate resilience that will be needed to face the concerns that are coming with climate change.  Crop mixing can also be supported with aid for trade resources for climate change objectives.
Dr Allan Stewart - World Fish Centre
Fish are going to move away from the tropics and into more temperate areas as our tropical oceans warm up. If you look at current fish populations and project whether they will be in the same conditions they will move towards the poles and so you are likely to see an increase in fish production in temperate areas and a decrease in the tropics.  That picture is complicated by the nature of ocean currents so in some cases you will see lateral movements east to west as well as north to south.In this report we looked at the Solomon Islands but the SPC is now doing a big study on climate change impacts across a whole range of sectors including fisheries and in fact the work I quoted is based on what their scientists have projected which is that common tuna species will shift into the central Pacific and away from PNG and the Solomon Island areas away from the eastern Pacific and further into the central Pacific.--ENDS

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