Western and Central Pacific tuna monitoring expedition underway

Photo: SPC

New Caledonia-based international development organisation Pacific Community (SPC) is currently conducting a research expedition to monitor the health of one of the largest tuna fisheries in the world in the Western and Central Pacific.

The expedition will involve sampling of the tropical waters of the high seas and the vast Kiribati exclusive economic zone. The cruise will also provide the first opportunity to collect data on tuna sustainability from the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, which was established in 2008.

The expedition is expected to last 50 days and will conclude with the scheduled return of the fisheries research vessel Gutsy Lady 4 to its home port of Honolulu on October 5.

Graham Pilling, SPC Deputy Director for the Oceanic Fisheries Programme, remarked that the expedition was considered necessary even amidst the Covid-19 pandemic as half of the world’s tuna catch with an estimated annual value of US$6 billion comes from those same waters and serves as the main source of income for most Pacific Island nations.

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