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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

SPC told to produce Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Report

One of the things that came out of the SPC Governing Council meeting a couple of weeks ago was a directive from Pacific Community governments and administrations for us to start putting together an "annual report" on the state of the Pacific Ocean in the western tropical Pacific islands region.

What it actually said was this:

CRGA noted:

that although regional tuna fisheries are comparatively well-reported, there is no annual regional report on the status of all fisheries, or other aspects of ocean use in the Pacific Islands region, and that such a report, based on the best available statistical and scientific data, and a fair balance of available opinions in cases where data is not available, would be valuable to national and international decision-makers. CRGA directed SPC’s Marine Resources Division to coordinate the production of a regular annual report addressing the status of the Western Tropical Pacific Ocean and its resources and uses, with the first report produced in time for consideration by CRGA 37

Now there is not actually a lot of hard information about what is happening under the water in this neck of the woods. There are a lot of opinions floating around, and a lot of patchy bits and pieces of information. And now we have the task of trying to tie it all together.

This is a fairly large area of water, as you can see from the map above, but we'll start small - based on what we already have - and keep adding year by year. Some of the existing sources of information, as CRGA points out, are the tuna fisheries summaries (see http://www.spc.int/oceanfish/) but also the coastal fisheries information is starting to fill out (http://www.spc.int/coastfish/Sections/reef/PROCFish_Web/default.aspx) and other regional organisations have collated ocean data from other sectors (e.g. http://www.sopac.org).

By this time next year we could have something useful in hand.

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