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Future of fishing for a vulnerable atoll: trends in catch and catch-per-unit-effort in Tokelau's domestic marine fisheries 1950-2016


White, R and Coghlan, AR and Coulter, A and Palomares, MLD and Pauly, D and Zeller, D, Future of fishing for a vulnerable atoll: trends in catch and catch-per-unit-effort in Tokelau's domestic marine fisheries 1950-2016, Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, (DEC) Article 476. ISSN 2296-7745 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 White, Coghlan, Coulter, Palomares, Pauly and Zeller. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00476


Tokelau is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change from both an environmental and economic perspective, whilst being highly dependent on marine resources for dietary nutrition. Industrial as well as small-scale fisheries are present in Tokelauís waters, with Tokelau itself only participating in small-scale fisheries. Industrial fisheries consist exclusively of foreign distant-water tuna fleets. This study aims to reconstruct and investigate the trends in the domestic small-scale marine fisheries catches, fishing effort, and catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) from 1950 to 2016. We used kWdays as our metric of fishing effort or fishing capacity, estimated using length, motorization and type of fishing vessels. Total fishing effort was approximately 11,900 kWdays in 1950 and increased rapidly after the 1980s with the introduction of larger motorized vessels. Despite evolving fishing effort, catches taken in subsistence fisheries have been relatively consistent at approximately 370 t⋅year−1, resulting in a reduction of subsistence CPUE from 32.4 kg⋅kWdays−1 in 1950 to 2.6 kg⋅kWdays−1 in 2016. This trend is opposite to that of the artisanal fishery, where CPUE increased since the start of this fishery in 2003, from 1.7 kg⋅kWdays−1 to 2.6 kg⋅kWdays−1 in 2016. Tokelauís domestic catch is greatly underreported, with reconstructed domestic catch since 2010 being nearly four times larger than the data reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on behalf of Tokelau. The abundance of reef fishes are predicted to decrease while the abundance of pelagic fishes is expected to increase within Tokelauís waters due to climate change, likely further altering future fishing practices. The present CPUE analysis, combined with the forecasted effects of climate change, suggests that the domestic fisheries in Tokelau may be on an unsustainable path, highlighting food security concerns, despite the potential for growth in offshore fisheries.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:catch reconstruction, small-scale fisheries, Pacific Islands, climate change, CPUE (catch-per-unit effort)
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Coghlan, AR (Ms Amy Coghlan)
ID Code:131771
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2019-04-04
Last Modified:2019-05-03
Downloads:22 View Download Statistics

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