Thursday 15 May 2014,
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters, Noumea, New Caledonia –
Government of Germany and partners assist Samoa Fisheries
The German Government is supporting Pacific Island countries to increase their resilience and adaptive capacity in the
face of the impacts of climate change.
The support focuses on five important development sectors in the Pacific Island region: land use (agriculture, forestry
and land use planning), fisheries, education, energy and tourism. It is jointly implemented in collaboration with
regional partners like the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in a project entitled SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate
Change in the Pacific Islands Region (CCCPIR).
In Samoa, the SPC/GIZ CCCPIR is working with the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries on
climate change adaptations in coastal fisheries. As a major component of the CCCPIR project, the Fisheries Division is
implementing a fish aggregating devices (FADs) project this week and in collaboration with the EU-funded DevFish 2
SPC Fisheries Development Officer and FAD expert, William Sokimi explained that FADs enhances the food chain by
attracting baitfish such as anchovies, sardines and scads, leading to the aggregation of larger pelagic species such as
skipjack, yellowfin, billfish, wahoo and mahimahi. Nearshore FADs directly impact local communities by providing easy
access to these species and can be reached by canoe users. They also give community fishers a safer environment to carry
out their fishing activities at a central location.
The project started with training for trainers on rope work, rigging, basic principles on maintenance and deploying
FADs. This initial workshop will be followed by similar training for the village communities on constructing and
deploying their own FADs.
Coastal fisheries play an integral part in the livelihoods of Samoan communities as well as supporting their dietary
needs. Fish consumption in 2007 was estimated at 59 kg per capita per annum, with higher consumption in rural villages
than in towns. With the pressures resulting from a growing population and the shift from a subsistence lifestyle to a
cash economy, compounded by rapid development, uncontrolled harvesting of fish and wildlife, natural disasters and
impacts of climate change, these areas are under threat.
In an effort to manage coastal fisheries, Samoa has implemented a community-based fisheries management programme since
1995. The programme empowers local communities, as resource users with sole responsibility for the management of their
resources, thus enabling them to be included in decision-making. Management actions are identified by the communities
themselves, with the government playing an advisory role in proposed management initiatives. The programme has worked in
more than 90 coastal villages and communities in Samoa.
As explained by Magele Etuati Ropeti of the SPC/GIZ project: ‘Many village communities are managing their coastal
fisheries resources; however, this project brings another element into the overall management of fisheries and that is
working with those communities at improving awareness on adverse impacts of climate change to assist in maximising
opportunities for communities to adapt to social, economic and environmental changes. This will strengthen the capacity
of local communities to respond to climate change impacts through the application of integrated coastal management and
conservation based adaptation measures to improve resilience of marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of people
depending on them.’
DevFish 2 is a regional project that encourages sustainable development of tuna fisheries to alleviate poverty, create
local jobs and other economic benefits for the Pacific ACP countries and Timor Leste. DevFish 2 project undertakes a
range of activities to make it easier for the local fishing industry and communities (including small scale tuna
fisheries sector) to grow and profit from the sustainable development of their tuna fisheries.
Mr Jonathan Manieva of the SPC DevFish 2 project said that ‘One focus area of the DevFish 2 is supporting artisanal tuna
development in the Pacific Island countries, and this project fits in well with the objectives of the SPC/GIZ CCCPIR.’
The EU-DevFish2 project is jointly implemented by Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and SPC.
The ACEO Fisheries Division said that the aim of the project is to support village communities as well as an adaptive
mechanism towards projected impacts of climate change. “The impacts of climate change on the marine resources are
projected to put more pressure on the fisheries resources. These changes coupled with on-going fishing pressure around
the country continue to present a challenge for fisheries managers. Alternative livelihood and adaptation activities
should be developed especially those that reduce risks and present opportunities for local communities. FADs is one of
those highlighted by communities during consultations conducted by the Fisheries Division” said ACEO Joyce Samuelu Ah
“The idea of having communities’ involvement is to ensure sustainability by giving community members the skills and
know-how on FADs so they can perform their own maintenance as well as constructing their own when needed” said Magele
Etuati Ropeti of SPC. “Furthermore, the FADs provide not only adaptations but supporting food security and alternative
livelihood for local communities” concluded Magele.
The project will undertake community training in 4 sites in Upolu and Savaii covering 18 selected village communities.