BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
SOLOMON Islands’ tuna fisheries is rated the fifth largest in the Pacific islands countries.
According to National Marine Ecosystem Service valuation, skipjack is the dominant commercial tuna species in Solomon Islands.
It makes up 64 percent of the annual catch, followed by yellow-fin with 25 percent, albacore – seven percent, and big eye – four percent, the report shows.
It is reported that nearly 100 percent (99 percent) of the commercial tuna catch is harvested by foreign fishing vessels, mostly by purse seine.
With regards to yellowfin, scientist report that yellow-fin stocks show signs of overfishing and bigeye stocks are becoming dangerously small but that albacore and skipjack stocks remain healthy.
Although skipjack makes up majority of tuna catch in the Solomon Islands, it represents only 30 percent of the total value, it said.
The net economic value of the tuna fishery in the Solomon Islands amounts to USD$221,089,000 (~SBD$1,659,827,300).
Although there are some local processing facilities, much of the catch is trans-shipped to distant markets, limiting positive economic impact of the industry for the Solomon Islands.
With regards to licensing of foreign vessels, SIG has earn significant revenue of more than SBD$217 million in 2014 (USD$29 million).
Besides, the industry provides some employment on fishing vessels, and at the processing and canning facilities.
Membership to the Parties of the Nauru Agreement (PNA) is improving sustainable and greatly increasing revenue earned from foreign vessel licences, it said.