Spawning induction programme was conducted in late May as ongoing activities from previous year (2008) under ACIAR Project to the Pacific regions included Tonga. The result from 2008 spawning induction, 1,200 spats had been distributed among 4 active pearl oyster farmers down in Vava’u, which part of the proposal assistance and support from the Government to develop pearl oyster industry currently operated at Vava’u coastal waters. More farmers had been participated in a way to get spats from the Government under this project which one of the good sign for this project. In fact, support activities will be up to the final stage in term of establishing international market for their product (‘Mabe’) as part of the Project expected outcome.
Giant Clams – Tridacna spp.:
Three species were induced to spawn but only Tridacna derasa, known locally ‘Tokanoa’ managed to release eggs similar to year 2008. Other two species, T.squamosa and T.maxima were hardly to spawn and could be associated with their maturity stage (i.e. not yet reach to their maturity stage – spawning stage). These brooders were kept at ‘Atata clam circle (Community Special Management Areas) after spawning induction at the previous year (2008). There was a need to collect broodstock for this year spawning induction programme but could not able to do so due to a fact that not enough fund as allocated from the Budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 under Aquaculture Section to cover this activity.
Live Corals and Rocks Cultured.:
The launch of Live coral and rocks project was entitled to facilitate and compensate the wild harvest under allocation quotas issued by the Government to the Aquarium Operators. In fact, wild harvest of live rocks was banned in 2008 included reduction the numbers and species of live corals allow to ship in weekly basis for 4 exporters currently had license to harvest and export aquarium commodities (i.e. aquarium fishes, invertebrates, live corals and rocks) to the international markets. This project was one of the Mini Project funded by ACIAR through SPC technical assistance to the regions included Tonga.
Four sites were selected for the ocean cultured for artificial corals whereas only one site man made rocks. For the rocks, around one thousands rocks already transferred to the ocean site with monthly monitoring programme was also established. For the corals, more than 3 thousands were transferred to the selected sites but the growth rate varied between sites. As a result, site selection still on trail due to the fact that surrounding environment quite milky and not very suit the growth performance of some certain coral species. However, market trail for some artificial corals was also conducted by one of the Aquarium operators and the result was very acceptable. Therefore, the landbase culture products could be utilized to facilitate the demand from the Aquarium operators whereas ocean cultured could be utilized for coral reef enhancement in a way to revive damaged coral reefs, which one of this project objective.
Other Potential Edible Marine Species:
Sea urchin Tripneustes sp is one of the popular marine sea food sold at the local market. Spawning trail was conducted but due to the lack of appropriate feed (i.e. Live microalgae species), mortality was high and the experiment was terminated. However, based on the result, we could able to predict the spawning season for the sea urchin around the yearly basis.
Edible seaweed, ‘Limufuofua’ grape seaweed was also cultured as an experimental trail. In fact, growth rate was quite success but due to the lack of available materials for the culture procedures, the production was limited. The determination of the culture trail was based on the popular of this seaweed at the local markets similar to the sea urchin.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & ADVISORY
The Community Development and Advisory Section (CDAS) works with interested communities to improve the welfare of the people of Tonga through sustainable development and management of marine resources, with attention to remote and disadvantage communities. The Special Management Area (SMA) regime has been adopted by government as a better tool for fisheries management and conservation purposes. The main objective of the Section is to enhance the sustainable management and utilization of inshore marine resources in SMA communities. These include:
To develop an Special Management Area Network in Tonga;
To enhance public education and awareness;
To enhance livelihood diversification activities for coastal communities;
Monitoring and evaluation of SMA progress
OFFSHORE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
The Offshore Resource Assessment and Development program aims to assess Tonga’s utilized and unutilized offshore fisheries resources and to provide advice to executive management on the conservation of these resources with relation to fisheries management and development. The development and monitoring of ecological performance indicators with relation to Tonga’s major offshore fisheries is to ensure sustainability of fishing activities and this is therefore an ongoing function of resource assessment and development. The two major offshore commercial fisheries for Tonga are tuna and snapper fisheries. Data collections at ports during unloading for both fisheries plus the information from logsheets are the main sources of information for the management of these two fisheries.
Data Collection of Tuna Resources:
This program is funded by the Japanese Trust Funds (JDF) under the Tuna Commission. Data are collected from fishing vessels during unloadings at port and also fishing companies after packing and exporting of fish. Data are utelised locally for different purposes including reports such as annual reports, quarterly and monthly reports. Subsequently, data are sent to SPC for stock assessment purposes.
Data Collection of Snapper Resources:
Data collection for snapper fishery is an on-going activity being carried out by this section.
Stock Assessment – Observer Program:
Stock assessment of snapper fishery was started since December 2012 through an observer programme funded by the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and the Tonga Fisheries Division. This progam employs local qualified observers who have been trained under the observer program of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Tonga Fisheries Division. In 2010, a preliminary observer program was conducted to assess the completion of logsheet by fishing vessels and also a preparation for the actual stock assessment. In this stock assessment, observers are deployed on snapper fishing vessels to collect all relevant information on fishing operation including fishing positions, fishing efforts, and biological samples such as gonads, otoliths, and length frequency of snapper species. This program will continue until 2013 and the results of this study will be used to review the existing management plan for snapper fishery in Tonga
MCS & LICENSING
The Fisheries Compliance Division provides a range of regulatory control services aimed at supporting the objectives of statutes, plans and policies by ensuring a high level of compliance with the rules. This is achieved through an effective program of licensing, the tracking of offshore vessels using satellite technology, the placement of observers onboard fishing vessels, and the enforcement of laws through a program of surveillance and inspections and where necessary, prosecutions for illegal fishing.
Satellite based Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)
Tonga Observer Program
Surveillance and inspections program
Enforcement and prosecutions
Licensing and Certification
FISHERIES MANAGEMENT & PLANNING
Fisheries Management and Development Division
The Fisheries Management and Development Division has responsibility for steering the government’s program of fisheries legislation, management planning, development planning, and policies for coastal and offshore fisheries, as well as for special management areas. These are the core statutory functions of the department that in turn drive the compliance and science programs.
Management and development plans reviews implementation strategy
Management and development plans implementation strategy
Fisheries policy development and review
Market and development plans reviews implementation strategy