It is well known. The pressure of commercial fishing on local and world fish stocks is extreme and ever increasing.
Foreign super trawlers, Purse Seiners and long liners have been plundering our oceans, taking disproportionately and for commercial gain. This has resulted in the severe decline in the numbers of pelagic species such as yellowfin tuna, marlin, masi masi, wahoo, albacore and skipjack residing in and traveling through our waters.
The impact is felt also by loVcal fishing operators, both commercial and recreational, who are finding it harder to catch the same number of fish they would have caught only a few years ago.
Across the Pacific region and worldwide, collaborative effort and partnerships are becoming increasingly important to sustainably manage fisheries.
To help address this rapid decline, the Samoa International Game Fishing Association (S.I.G.F.A) actively promotes sustainable fishing practices such as the tag and release of marlin and sailfish.
S.I.G.F.A and its members work closely with local fisheries and other organisations around the world such as the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and The Billfish Foundation.
Some members also work closely with M.N.R.E and other international conservation agencies to undertake studies of our marine environment.
This includes work with whales, dolphins and many other marine animals.
S.I.G.F.A has recently approached Samoa Fisheries regarding the future deployment of ‘Fish Aggregation Devices’ (F.A.Ds) on the coast of both Upolu and Savai’i.
A F.A.D is simply a floating object such as a buoy anchored at a designated point out at sea. It provides a point of reference for migrating fish and, in time, with barnacles and other growth attaching itself to the anchor rope, chain and buoy, creates an environment for small fish to live in and hence attract larger fish to its vicinity.
F.A.Ds are productive investments and useful tools in developing local fisheries and sport fishing tourism.
As an integral part of our ‘S.I.G.F.A International Tournament’ (30 April-7 May 2016), the organisers have dedicated prize categories for the tag and release of both marlin and sailfish; this includes cash and trophies.
The ‘S.I.G.F.A Tag and Release Programme’ has been running for over 15 years.
When a marlin is tagged as it swims beside the boat, a photo is taken and a recognition of its health and size is recorded by the crew on a ‘catch card’ which is provided by S.I.G.F.A,
Upon return to the Apia marina, catch cards are presented to the weighmaster for authenticity after which all cards are sent back to the relevant fisheries departments and conservation organisations.
From this information, marine scientists can determine the state of fish stocks travelling our oceans which in turn can inform and influence government fisheries policies and regulations.
Sustainable fishing practices in general help to ensure the rejuvenation of fish stocks and contributes to safeguarding food security and the livelihoods of future generations.
S.I.G.F.A is proud to be a part of marine conservation in Samoa.