Research Impact


Pacific regions major challenge

Collaborative impact towards sustainable coastal fisheries management in the Pacific Islands

Coastal fisheries are in decline. This decline is driven by population growth and exacerbated by climate change impacts that will have severe consequences for food security and social stability in the Pacific region.

To help meet these challenges with effective solutions, researchers from UOW’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) have been building research partnerships with international fisheries management organisations, including WorldFish, the Pacific Community (SPC), and with the governments of Pacific Island communities (PIC): Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Coastal fisheries supply daily protein and present one of the few sources of livelihood for coastal villagers in PIC.

“Securing sustainable coastal fisheries is therefore a key political priority for PICs. The research team aims to address food and nutrition security, improve and secure the productivity of coastal fishery systems and ultimately enhance the resilience of communities in Pacific Island nations,” according to Dr Aurélie Delisle, ANCORS Research Fellow.

The project, in place since 2014, has had significant impact at regional and national levels.

With funding from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the project has enabled governments to ensure the sustainability of coastal fisheries through improving local management and linkages between local and national governance, through community-based initiatives.

In Kiribati, a country with no prior history of community-based fisheries management, the project team has worked with communities in two remote islands to develop their own fisheries management plans.

These management plans included measures such as the creation of the country’s first community protected areas, bans on destructive fishing methods, mangrove planting, waste management, better sanitation and educational activities.

In the three target countries, the project teams also trained national and sub-national staff to build their capacity to support coastal fisheries management.

In 2015, project partners came together to develop a regional initiative ‘A new song for coastal fisheries – pathways to change: The Noumea strategy’, to better place coastal fisheries in the development of the Pacific region.

“Over the next five years, the project team and partners will build upon their successes, scale out the lessons learned and expand their collaboration to more communities within the partner countries and the region,” according to Dr Aurélie Delisle.

Partner organisations

The Pacific Community
Governments of Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

UOW participants

A/Prof. Quentin Hanich, Dr Aurélie Delisle, Ms Brooke Campbell, Associate Professor Karen Charlton, Dr Joanna Russell, Ms Anne Lechner, Mr Asher Taccori, Ms Kim Williams