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The Tonga Deepwater Fishery Management Plan is a national sectoral plan of Tonga for the period 2017-2019. Its goal is to achieve a sustainable multispecies fishery maximizing export returns while ensuring viability of the fleet to enhance livelihood as well as food security for all Tongans.
The document aims to contribute to the food security and livelihoods of Tongan people through employment opportunities in fishery. More specifically, it provides for increased number of employment of Tongans in each company either as captain, crew, boatmen or process workers, and increased availability of fish at the local market.
The Plan also aims to manage the fishery at a more sustainable level by (1) limiting the catch through a Total Allowable Catch of 200 tons per year; (2) limiting the number of snapper and deepwater fishing license to a total number of 30 fishing vessels during the duration of the Plan; (3) imposing a maximum length of 23 meters on all fishing vessels; (4) registering and licensing all vessels; (5) fitting vessels with operational VMS; and (6) continuing fuel concession to encourage data collection and monitoring. In addition, the document plans to protect a number of seamounts (and banks) as a safety valve for stock sustainability and for protecting juvenile fish.
Further, in order to enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems, the following measures are set out in the Plan: improve/increase the return of the fishery to fishers, processors and exporters through conducting economic analysis of the fishery; encouraging economic efficiency of vessels; maximizing the export revenue in the fishery; upgrading ageing fleet and inefficient fishing technologies; and conducting market research on market available to promote market diversity for all deepwater and snapper species. Finally, the document also provides for managing the fishery in a cooperative and participatory way including all stakeholders and reviving Deepwater Fisheries Management Committee and conducting regular meeting of the Committee.
According to the Plan, the Ministry of Fisheries plays a primary role in promoting conservation, management, sustainable utilization and development of deepwater fisheries resources. The Plan also acknowledges the different stakeholders within the fisheries and the Deepwater Fisheries Management Committee and their respective roles in co-managing the fishery. The progress of implementing of the Plan will be reported in the Annual Report of the Ministry of Fisheries. It is planned to develop and monitor indicators set for the performance of the Plan, and evaluate trends against benchmark made regularly. There will be a mid-term review of the Plan in 2018 and the completion of the Plan in 2019 or earlier as deemed necessary.
Tonga Deepwater Fishery Management Plan 2017-2019
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