Knowledge for Development

Diversifying the use of tuna to improve food security and public health in Pacific island countries and territories


Date: 10/03/2015


The large tuna resources of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean are delivering great economic benefits to Pacific Island countries and territories through sale of licences to distant fishing nations and employment in fish processing. However, tuna needs to contribute to Pacific Island societies in another important way – by increasing local access to the fish required for good nutrition to help combat the world’s highest levels of diabetes and obesity. In this study, Johann D. Bell of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, New Caledonia, and colleagues argue that tuna should also be used to enhance nutrition and diets. They demonstrate that in 2020 and 2035 just 2.1% and 5.9% of the average present-day industrial tuna catch will be required to fill the gap in domestic fish supply. They describe various policies and programmes that promise to increase access to fish for sustaining the health of the Pacific’s growing populations. (Elsevier, Marine Policy, 29/01/2015)

See also SPC’s discussion of this study.