SOLOMON ISLANDS - A new study by WorldFish, the Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the University of Queensland has linked fish aggregating devices (FADs) with food security and livelihoods in the Solomon Islands.
In the Solomon Islands, it is projected that coastal fisheries will not be able to supply the fish needed to meet increasing demand without improved coastal fisheries management and alternative sources of fish.
Near-shore FADs are moored, floating objects used to aggregate oceanic fish such as tuna. In Solomon Islands they are located close to shore to be easily accessed by fishers, including those using paddle canoes. Near-shore FADs make tuna easier to catch for fishers and can provide an alternative to reef-based fisheries.
The study, funded by New Zealand Aid through the Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries Programme, showed that near-shore FADs increased the supply of fish to rural communities providing them with more fish for household consumption, income and community feasts.
The study also notes that, while FADs can increase the supply of fish, their transient nature brings risks from reliance on them, leading to, for example, less time spent on more consistent means of food production such as gardening.
The report concludes that FADs, while a useful mechanism for increasing the supply of fish, are not a technical panacea that alone can ensure more resilient livelihoods for rural islanders. Rather, they can be considered as part of a toolkit for fisheries management within broader rural development and planning processes.
The findings of the study have been used by the Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to help inform the development of a national near-shore FAD programme.
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