Fisheries in the Economies of Pacific Islands and Territories

A study by Mr Robert Gillett, for SPC and DFAT

Prior to this study, there was a growing demand for up-to-date data on the
contribution of fisheries to economies in the Pacific region – the last study of this kind was in 2009.

This study outlines where each of the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is in their fisheries development, including an assessment of the contribution of fisheries to gross domestic product (GDP).

The chapters of the study cover the following:

  • Key features of coastal fisheries production
  • Key features of offshore fisheries production
  • Aquaculture production in the region
  • Changes in fisheries and aquaculture production
    during the period 2007–2014
  • Some issues in measuring fisheries production in the region
  • Household income and expenditure survey (HIES)
  • Contribution of fishing to GDP
  • Improving the estimates of fishing contribution to GDP
  • Exports of fishery products
  • Access fees for foreign fishing
  • Employment related to fisheries
  • Fish consumption

Significant findings:

Coastal fisheries production has not increased significantly in the
15-year period 1999–2014. The population of the region is increasing,
so the per capita production of fish from coastal fisheries is decreasing,
at a rate of approximately 6% in the period 2007-2014.

Foreign-based offshore fishing continues to increase. This increase was mostly due to increased purse seine catches. This occurred despite the introduction of the PNA Vessel Day Scheme and the associated steep increase in access fees.


The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) provides training in:

  • fisheries management
  • fisheries economic analysis and bioeconomic modelling
  • policy development, investment appraisal and international commerce
  • international fisheries negotiations.

FFA delivers training on the basis of formal requests from members and recommendations made through the Forum Fisheries Committee. When a justified need is identified, FFA considers how the need can be met, given limited resources and the available expertise.

  • The Pacific Community’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) provides its members with scientific services relating to oceanic (primarily tuna) fisheries management.

Economic country visits

SPC uses its data and conducts visits to countries to produce specific reports on the economic value of their fishing catch. Once they have this information, Pacific countries are in a stronger position to negotiate a better deal with foreign fleets. SPC researcher, Steven Hare explains (57 secs).


Bioeconomic tool helps countries plan their fishing efforts

SPC and FFA have developed a tool that combines biological and economic knowledge into a ‘bioeconomic’ tool that helps countries decide what fishing effort they want to achieve given economic and sustainability goals. SPC’s Steven Hare explains (3 minutes).


FFA delivers high quality training on request.
Photo credit: Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)