Grouper fish research

Fiji's effort to manage its grouper fisheries is expected to become a model approach for the Pacific region. Picture:

FIJI’S effort to manage its grouper fisheries is expected to become a model approach for the Pacific region.

This follows a recent study by the Ministry of Fisheries and its partners indicating that price of kawakawa and donu needed to be publicly available to international and local markets enabling fishers to negotiate better.

The study found that the formation of fisher groups could provide fishermen more power over pricing facilitating direct marketing.

The ministry’s director Aisake Batibasaga said the study was especially timely given considering that demand for grouper was high and even growing, and also that 80 per cent of their breeding sites were rapidly declining or were already wiped out.

“We are already taking the steps to build the stocks up, but with this new study we also want to ensure all stakeholders, especially Fiji’s fishers, can receive the highest economic value and benefits from these A-grade fish,” he said.

Named Value Chain Analysis of the Fiji Grouper Fishery Report, the research recommended giving priority to national food security and refraining from export of grouper unless domestic sales could be supported by a sustainably managed fishery.

Meanwhile lead researcher on the study and a global expert on grouper fisheries Doctor Yvonne Sadovy said while the Government had introduced a seasonal ban to safeguard the future of Fiji’s grouper species, the study offered additional measures that could aid recovery but also ensure that Fijians got the maximum benefit from these culturally and economically valuable fish.

“We hope that this study will help the ministry to determine the best approaches to take,” said Dr Sadovy.

The study was conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries in partnership scientists from SCRFA (Science and Conservation of Fish Aggregations), Wildlife Conservation Society, and the University of British Columbia (Canada). |

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