Tonga fisheries has been undergoing major changes following its 2015 transition from being tagged under one ministry with the Agriculture and Environment portfolios, to a stand-alone Ministry under Minister Semisi Fakahau.
For the Ministry’s new CEO Dr Tuikolongahau Halafihi, the renewed focus on Fisheries resources as a national priority “has already started to see rewards from this new focus. Exports were up 73% to 1,743 tonnes; with a 54% increase in the value of fish exported, to over $10 million.
“We are increasing the availability of fish on our local markets by requiring all by-catch from our foreign licensed vessels to be landed for sale in Tonga.”
Noting new challenges mainly in the coastal fisheries sector, Dr Halafihi told #FFC102 delegates during the opening round of country statements the Ministry’s new structure covering Fisheries Management and Development, Fisheries Science, Fisheries Compliance, and Corporate Services will also be energised by a new corporate plan.
Commercial fisheries and aquaculture are emerging sectors facing challenges, but a way forward is aimed at ensuring Tonga has fish for its future needs.
Halafihi says a major emerging challenge for the Ministry of Fisheries has been the Government’s approval of the Tonga Fisheries Sector Plan, developed with the assistance of the World Bank. The plan includes a list of 100 action items, representing the biggest range of fisheries reforms in #Tonga for over 20 years. #FoFRoadmap #Ourfishourfuture