Fishermen urged to stop harvesting undersized fish

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.) is concerned about over-fishing, the harvesting of undersized fish and its impacts on the fish supply in Samoa.

This was highlighted by the Ministry's Principal Fisheries Officer (offshore section), Mataia Uate Faasili, during an interview with the Samoa Observer.

Mataia said there is a regulation that prohibits the harvesting of small sized fish and they are currently regulating various fish species sizes. He added no one is allowed to harvest any fish below 20 centimeters.

“We usually do these monitoring at the fish market and out to the restaurants, and food caterers mainly on the awareness that they are not allowed to accept these illegal size of fish and also any egg-carrying lobsters and we always emphasise through radio stations," Mataia said.

“It is very difficult to determine the status of the fisheries stock in Samoa. Of all the oceans in the world we have the healthiest tuna stock because of how we manage. So these tuna species are all healthy but we are trying to put measures to cap the level of fishing activities so we can sustain this healthy status of tuna stock.

“A problem with fish monitoring is that we cannot cover all docks where the boats anchor which is why we had staff work at night where they can monitor fishing boats and their catch,” he said.

He said there is a great high risk of over-fishing in Samoa and it can affect our fish supply especially in the future.

“This is not an easy job and we are always on the receiving end of the monitoring fishing activities which is really difficult because we are managing the actions of the fishermen but their actions are very complex but we are doing all our best."  

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