Secretariat of the Pacific Community. FIELD REPORT No. 19

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1 Secretariat of the Pacific Community FIELD REPORT No. 19 on DEVELOPMENT OPTIONS AND CONSTRAINTS INCLUDING TRAINING NEEDS AND INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIREMENTS WITHIN THE TUNA FISHING INDUSTRY AND SUPPORT SERVICES ON TARAWA AND CHRISTMAS ISLAND, REPUBLIC OF KIRIBATI 11 to 19 November 2002, and 26 November to 5 December 2002 by Lindsay Chapman Fisheries Development Adviser Secretariat of the Pacific Community Noumea, New Caledonia 2003

2 Copyright Secretariat of the Pacific Community 2003 All rights for commercial / for profit reproduction or translation, in any form, reserved. The SPC authorises the partial reproduction or translation of this material for scientific, educational or research purposes, provided the SPC and the source document are properly acknowledged. Permission to reproduce the document and/or translate in whole, in any form, whether for commercial / for profit or non-profit purposes, must be requested in writing. Original SPC artwork may not be altered or separately published without permission. This field report forms part of a series compiled by the Fisheries Development Section of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community s Coastal Fisheries Programme. These reports have been produced as a record of individual project activities and country assignments, from materials held within the Section, with the aim of making this valuable information readily accessible. Each report in this series has been compiled within the Fisheries Development Section to a technical standard acceptable for release into the public arena. Secretariat of the Pacific Community BP D Noumea Cedex New Caledonia Tel: (687) Fax: (687) Prepared at Secretariat of the Pacific Community headquarters Noumea, New Caledonia, 2003 ii

3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Secretariat of the Pacific Community would like to acknowledge the help and assistance provided by the Kiribati Ministry of Natural Resources Development, and in particular, Mr Tukabu Teroroko, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources Development; Mr Raimon Taake, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources Development; Mr Maruia Kamatie, Chief Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Division; Mr Tetoaiti Tabokai, Senior Resource Economist, Ministry of Natural Resources Development; Mr Johnny Kirata, Senior Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Division; Mr Kintoba Tearo, Fisheries Officer in charge, Kiritimati Fisheries Division; and Mr Tekamaeu Karaiti, Fisheries Assistant, Kiritimati Fisheries Division. Many other government departments and government businesses were consulted during the fieldwork phase of this project, and the Secretariat would like to acknowledge with gratitude the assistance and cooperation provided on Christmas Island by: Mr Iamti Rakautu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Line and Phoenix Group; Mr Baaroo Namai, Chief Land Management Officer, Ministry of Line and Phoenix Group; Mr Tekaiti Teeon, Branch Manager, Kiribati Oil Company, Christmas Island branch; Mr Iabeta Baitau, Station Supervisor for Air Kiribati, Ministry of Information, Communication and Transport; Mr Benuate Aviu, Officer in charge, Christmas Island Branch, Kiribati Ports Authority; Mr Mapuola Iosua, Civil Engineer, Public Utilities Board, Ministry of Line and Phoenix Group: and on Tarawa by Mr Barerei Onorio, General Manager, Central Pacific Producers (CPP) Ltd; Mr Kietau Tabwebweiti, General Manager, Development Bank of Kiribati; Mr Itiniman Itaia, Chief Officer, Marine Training Centre (MTC), Kiribati; Mr Temaia Ereata, General Manager, Betio Shipyard Ltd; Mr Kabuaua Tenabgibo, Officer in Charge, Kiribati Oil (KOIL); Captain Koubwere Ienraoi, General Manager/Ports Master, Kiribati Ports Authority (KPA); Mr Kamaua Bareua, Principal, Fisheries Training Centre (FTC), Ministry of Labour, Employment and Cooperatives; Mr Benitera Tabokai, Director of Civil Aviation, Aviation Division, Ministry of Information, Communications and Transport; and Mr Moote Kabura, Marine Surveyor, Marine Division, MICT; The private sector in Kiribati is very small, and the secretariat would like to acknowledge the information, assistance and insights provided by Mr Mike Savins, General Manager, Betiraoi Boatbuilding; Mr Mark Petty, Seafood Technologist and HACCP specialist, ASOP programme, Australia; Mr Maerere Baiteke, Manager, Commercial Fishermen s Cooperative, Tarawa; Mr Louis Eikenhout, Technical Adviser, Betio Hardware (and sport/game fisherman); Mr Teken Tokataake, TC Tokataake Enterprises (local fishing company); Mr Tekabaia Ioteba, Owner/Manager, Ote Marine Exports; Mr Jacob Teem and Ms Lavinia Teem, Owners/Managers, Dojin Company Limited; Mr Roneta Tiongiti, Chairman, Christmas Island Fishermen s Cooperative; and Mr John Bryden, Owner/Manager, JMB Enterprises Ltd. Finally the Secretariat would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by the other specialists working on this project, in particular, Mr Peter Flewwelling, Canadian consultant and coordinator of the project for FFA; Ms Josie Tamate, Project Economist, FFA, Mr Les Clarke, Fisheries Management Adviser, FFA; and C-SPOD II through the Forum Fisheries Agency for funding the travel for the fieldwork undertaken as part of this project. iii

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5 SUMMARY There is good potential for developing domestic tuna longline fishing operations in Kiribati, because the resource is known to frequent the Kiribati EEZ and foreign longline vessels work the area under access agreements. However, the government needs to provide an enabling environment with basic infrastructure to encourage development in the private sector. There is also the need for the government to re-look at their policy direction, as the current approach of public sector development of the tuna fishery will only hinder the private sector in its attempt to develop. The government needs to seriously look at the privatisation of Central Pacific Producers (CPP), although private sector investment will only come if CPP is running at a profit. There is a range of infrastructure needs that the government can examine to see which are achievable in the short term. The idea of dedicated tuna fishing ports on both Tarawa and Christmas Island needs to be explored more, including environmental impact assessments and the availability of land. Such complexes could include wharves, processing facilities, slipways, support service workshops, fuel and utilities. This would provide safe anchorages for medium-scale longline vessels, which hopefully would encourage the private sector to invest in such vessels. Airfreight capacity and cost is another major limiting factor for the development of domestic tuna fishing operations. Air Kiribati needs to look into this to see how they can assist, as the current aircraft they have has very limited cargo space and the cost of freight is very high. The use of F/V Tekokona III type vessels should be encourages once it has proven itself, however, other vessels may prove to be as good if not better, and the government should support the private sector using such vessels to develop the tuna longline fishery. In fact, as the private sector develops and expands, the public sector should withdraw from these activities and not work in opposition to them. The potential also exists for baitfish operations in support of a tuna longline fishery. There are milkfish ponds on both Tarawa and Christmas Island, with milkfish produced mainly for human consumption at present. Milkfish has been proven as a good bait in other locations, especially when used alive. An alternative is to look at the wild baitfish stocks in the Tarawa lagoon, or in the waters adjacent to the reef. Squid is another potential bait source, and the Fisheries Division could look at research or development projects in these fields. There is also a need for government support for the existing small-scale tuna troll and pole fishery with the setting up of an ongoing FAD programme, with the introduction of mid-water fishing techniques. Such an FAD programme could be funded, in part at least, through the proposed development fee placed on foreign fishing vessels. A 5-year plan could be developed and materials purchased in bulk to reduce costs to the programme. Small-scale fishermen would benefit from increased catches and reduced operating costs, plus there is the safety aspect of people fishing in known locations (where the FADs are). There is also the potential for developing small-scale value-adding to product to reduce freight costs and hopefully increase returns to the country on a per kilo basis. There are two companies producing tuna jerky at present, although only one is exporting as well as having a HACCP plan in place. The exporting company has 10 women employed in the production of the tuna jerky, and there is scope for more employment of locals if the current facility expands. Salting and drying is another value-adding process that can be explored, especially in the outer islands, although this would be more for local sale due to the strict health standards for export products. Training is the other main area that the government needs to examine, especially in the areas of implementing the tuna development and management plan, surveillance and compliance, observer coverage, and the lack of trained skippers and engineers for developing domestic tuna longline operations. The last point is an important one as there are very few people with skills in hydraulics and refrigeration, which are essential for an engineer working on a medium-scale tuna longline vessel. v

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7 RÉSUMÉ À Kiribati, la filière nationale de pêche thonière à la palangre présente de bonnes possibilités de développement. On sait, en effet, que plusieurs espèces de thons fréquentent la zone économique exclusive de l'archipel; un certain nombre de palangriers étrangers bénéficiant d'accords de pêche travaillent d'ailleurs dans cette zone. Toutefois, pour susciter des initiatives de la part du secteur privé, les autorités devront s'attacher à créer des conditions favorables et à mettre en place les infrastructures de base. L'État devra également revoir sa politique en la matière, l'accent mis actuellement sur les investissements publics dans le secteur de la pêche thonière ne pouvant constituer une entrave au développement du secteur privé. Les pouvoirs publics doivent donc se pencher sérieusement sur la privatisation de la société Central Pacific Producers (CPP), bien que les capitaux privés n'afflueront que dans la mesure où la CPP affiche des bénéfices. Les autorités devront déterminer, parmi tous les besoins en matière d'infrastructures, ceux qui pourront être comblés à brève échéance. La réflexion sur la construction de ports réservés exclusivement aux thoniers, sur les îles Tarawa et Christmas, doit être poursuivie, pour intégrer notamment une étude d'impact sur l'environnement et un inventaire des sites possibles. Ces ensembles portuaires pourraient comprendre des quais, des installations de transformation, des cales de halage, des ateliers d'entretien et de réparation, ainsi que des entrepôts de carburant et des services collectifs. De telles infrastructures constitueraient des mouillages sûrs pour les navires de pêche d'une certaine jauge, ce qui pourrait inciter le secteur privé à investir dans de tels bateaux. Les capacités et les coûts du fret aérien y afférents représentent un autre frein majeur à l'expansion des entreprises locales de pêche thonière. Il serait bon que le transporteur aérien national, Air Kiribati, dont l'appareil comporte une soute à fret de petite taille et dont les frais d'expédition sont élevés, se penche sur la question afin de proposer une solution. Le recours aux navires de pêche du type Tekokona III devrait être préconisé après qu'il aura fait ses preuves. Il pourrait cependant s'avérer que d'autres navires donnent des résultats aussi bons, voire meilleurs, auquel cas l'état, dans le cadre de son action de développement de la pêche thonière à la palangre, se devra d'apporter son soutien aux entreprises privées exploitant ce type de navires. À mesure que les entreprises privées se développent et se renforcent, il est d'ailleurs souhaitable que l'état se désengage de ces activités et ne mette aucune entrave à l'expansion de la filière. Toujours dans le cadre de la pêche palangrière, la production des poissons-appâts recèle un bon potentiel de développement. Les îles Tarawa et Christmas accueillent toutes deux des élevages de chanidés, l'espèce étant actuellement surtout destinée à la consommation humaine. Dans certaines régions, le chanos chanos s'est révélé être un excellent poisson-appât, en particulier lorsqu'il est utilisé vivant. Une autre solution consisterait à évaluer les stocks d'appâts sauvages dans le lagon de Tarawa ou dans les eaux le long du récif. Le calmar donne aussi de bons résultats. La Division Pêche côtière pourrait envisager des projets de recherche ou de développement dans ces domaines. Les entreprises artisanales de pêche à la traîne et à la canne ont, elles aussi, besoin d'êtres aidées par l'état, notamment par un programme permanent associant le mouillage de DCP et l'introduction de techniques de pêche à mi-profondeur. Le programme d'installation de DCP pourrait être financé, au moins partiellement, par la redevance de développement versée par les navires de pêche étrangers. Un plan quinquennal pourrait être formulé et le matériel nécessaire acheté en nombre afin de réduire les coûts. Une telle initiative permettrait d'augmenter les prises et de réduire les charges d'exploitation des petits pêcheurs, mais également d'améliorer la sécurité en mer, les pêcheurs opérant dans des zones connues car à proximité des DCP. En outre, des possibilités existent pour la création d'entreprises artisanales de valorisation du produit de la pêche dans le but de réduire les coûts du fret, voire peut-être d'accroître le revenu par kilo généré par la filière. À l'heure actuelle, deux entreprises produisent de la charque de thon, mais une seule exporte ses produits tout en ayant instauré un plan HACCP. Cette société exportatrice emploie dix femmes pour la production de charque, et pourrait embaucher des villageois si elle s'agrandit. Le salage et le séchage sont d'autres formes de valorisation qu'il conviendrait d'étudier, en particulier pour une implantation dans les îles éloignées. Au vu des normes d'hygiène très strictes s'appliquant aux produits d'exportation, il s'agirait dans ce cas d'une production destinée au marché local. vii

8 La formation est un autre domaine auquel devraient s'intéresser les pouvoirs publics, en particulier dans les domaines de la mise en œuvre du plan de développement et de gestion de la pêche thonière, des contrôles et de la conformité, de la couverture assurée par les observateurs. C'est aussi par la formation que pourra être comblée la pénurie de capitaines et de mécaniciens qualifiés qui pourraient contribuer au développement des entreprises locales de pêche thonière à la palangre. Dernier point, et non des moindres : le pays manque cruellement de personnes possédant des compétences en hydraulique et en techniques de réfrigération, qualifications essentielles pour tout mécanicien employé à bord d'un thonier palangrier commercial. viii

9 CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION 1 2. BACKGROUND History of the tuna and baitfish fishery in Kiribati waters Development of domestic industrial tuna fishing operations Foreign fishing access Baitfish culture Development of small-scale tuna fishing Sportfishing Tuna storage, processing and marketing facilities in Kiribati Te Mautari Limited (TML) Marine Exports Division/Kiritimati Marine Exports Limited Outer Islands Fisheries Project Central Pacific Producers (CPP) Limited The private sector GOAL, OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES Goal Objectives Strategies INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIREMENTS Shore facilities Tarawa Christmas Island Availability of land Tarawa Christmas Island Support services Slipways Carpenters, welders (steel and aluminium) and fibreglassers Engineers (diesel, hydraulic, refrigeration and general) and electricians Suppliers of fishing gear, safety equipment and vessel electronics Suppliers of ice, bait and export packing materials Availability of fresh water Reliability of electricity supply Fuel availability Local tuna fishing fleet and suitable vessels Processing facilities Airport facilities and cargo space availability 29 ix

10 5. TRAINING NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS Marine-focused training institutions Marine Training Centre (MTC) Fisheries Training Centre (FTC) Tarawa Technical Institute (TTI) University of the South Pacific, Kiribati Extension Centre Fishing industry Crew for offshore tuna vessels Skippers for offshore tuna vessels Engineers for offshore tuna vessels Small-scale near-shore tuna fishermen Managing a small fishing business Processing sector Support sector Fisheries Division CONSTRAINTS AND OPTIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT Encouraging private sector development Government policies and the role of the Fisheries Division Role of the Fisheries Division Marine Department Regulations EU requirements for a Competent Authority Duty and taxes on gear and equipment used in the tuna fishery Licensing Data collection and use of data Financing for new fishing operations Charter fishing operations Development options Transhipment of tuna catches and the use of I-Kiribati stevedores I-Kiribati crewing on domestic and foreign tuna fishing vessels Observer programme and port sampling Fish aggregating devices (FADs) Promotion of small-scale tuna fishing methods Promotion of medium-scale tuna longlining Sea safety issues, especially for small-scale fishing operations Bait production Value-adding processes as development options CONCLUSIONS 55 APPENDICES A. People consulted during the study 57 B. Bibliography 59 x

11 1. INTRODUCTION The information contained in this report forms a specific component to develop a National Tuna Development and Management Plan (NTDMP) for the Republic of Kiribati. The NTDMP will be drafted by a C-SPOD II-funded Canadian consultant, Mr Peter Flewwelling, in consultation with the Kiribati Fisheries Division and the Forum Fisheries Agency, and drawing on input from other sectors involved or interested in the tuna fishery. This report forms the basis of the development component of the NTDMP, which includes training needs and infrastructure requirements, with a focus on smallscale and medium-scale development in the tuna fishery. This component of the overall programme has the following specific Terms of Reference. The fisheries development specialist shall: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) assess the feasible options that are available for tuna development in Kiribati, focusing on the scope for tuna longline development; identify constraints to further development of the country s tuna resources; identify potential infrastructure developments that would promote future tuna-related development; review the current availability of skilled fisheries-related personnel in-country (such as vessel officers, crew, welders, electricians, refrigeration mechanics, vessel managers, and so on) and, for the different tuna development options available, identify those skills for which additional in-country and/or regional training is required; discuss these issues with relevant national stakeholders, the project manager, and other members of the project team; produce a written report addressing the above issues; and as part of the project team, assist the coordinator to prepare and review those sections of the draft NTDMP relating to the above issues. The Fisheries Development Adviser of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Lindsay Chapman, travelled to Christmas Island (11 to 19 November 2002) and Tarawa (26 November to 5 December 2002) to undertake this work. Initial meetings in both locations were with senior fisheries staff, who then assisted is identifying and setting up meetings with staff of other government departments, and others with an interest in developing domestic tuna fishing operations in Kiribati. Consultations were held with a large number of stakeholders, and many reports were reviewed to gather the information compiled in this report. Appendix A provides a list of the people consulted, while Appendix B provides a bibliography of the reference materials. The report focuses on the two most likely areas for tuna fishery development to occur, Christmas Island and Tarawa. The suggestions contained in this report are based on information collected during fieldwork in these two locations. The suggestions do not account for any changes that may have occurred to legislation or other circumstances, since the time of this work. Therefore, some of the information and suggestions may not now be relevant based on changes that may have occurred since the time the fieldwork was undertaken. 2. BACKGROUND The Republic of Kiribati consists of 33 islands in three distinct chains, the Gilbert group, the Phoenix group and the Line group. The islands lie between 5 N and 11 S, and 170 E and 150 W, with a huge expanse of ocean surrounding them. The country s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is one of the largest in the region at 3.5 million square kilometres. In contrast, the total land area is only 820 square 1

12 kilometres, giving a sea to land ratio of 4000:1. The coral atolls are low lying, most rising to a height of two metres above sea level, with poor soil and limited indigenous vegetation types. The 2000 population estimate for Kiribati was 90,700 people, with and annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent. 2.1 History of the tuna and baitfish fishery in Kiribati waters Prior to the declaration of Kiribati s 200 mile EEZ in 1978, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean distant water longline and pole-and-line vessels were fishing the waters close to the islands in the group. These fleets fished on a year round basis, with annual catches from 1962 ranging between 1000 and 25,000 mt. These catches indicated that the tuna stocks were present for exploitation, so the people of Kiribati, with overseas aid, looked at ways to get a national industrial tuna fishery established Development of domestic industrial tuna fishing operations The establishment of domestic industrial tuna fishing in Kiribati commenced in the 1970s, with several fishing and baiting surveys conducted to assess the feasibility of pole-and-line fishing and the catching of live bait needed for the success of this fishing method. During 1975, the Teikaraoi Fishing Company conducted 137 fishing days, with a catch of 63.8 mt of skipjack tuna. One of the problems encountered was that lack of suitable bait for the fishing operation. Another survey of the skipjack and baitfish resource of the Gilbert Islands was conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) from 7 November 1977 to 5 March 1978, using the pole-and-line vessel, F/V Daini Kyoryo- Maru. During the survey, 12 islands in the Gilbert group were fished, with 1371 buckets of bait caught (roughly 3 kg of baitfish to a bucket), and used with a pole-and-line catch of 18,010 kg. Again, limited catches of baitfish restricted the fishing ability of the boat. The F/V Hatsutori Maru No. 3 was the next vessel used to conduct survey fishing in the Gilbert group. From May to October 1978, the vessel was in Kiribati waters for 163 days. In 1978 and 1979, the SPC s Skipjack Survey and Assessment Programme conducted three trips to the Gilbert Island group of Kiribati, and one trip to the Phoenix Group. In 1979, the United Kingdom donated a pole-and-line vessel to Kiribati to conduct experimental tuna and baitfish fishing trials and for training purposes. The vessel, F/V Nei Manganibuka, was a 100 GRT vessel 27 m long with a carrying capacity of around 35 mt using brine freezers. This vessel did some experimental fishing in 1980 with limited success. A second vessel, F/V Nei Arintetongo was donated to Kiribati at the end of 1980 by the government of Japan. This vessel was 120 GRT and 27 m long. The carrying capacity of this vessel was around 30 mt in brine freezers. On 1 February 1981, the Kiribati fishing company, Te Mautari Ltd (TML) was established as a locally incorporated, wholly government owned company. The company took over the operation of the two pole-and-line vessels on incorporation, and started working the vessels commercially, with the catch landed at their small shore facility for freezing and storage. In the first 6 months (February to July 1981) of operation the two vessels landed 360 mt of product, at a catch rate of 2.5 mt/boat/day. This catch improved from August to November 1981, with 420 mt caught by the two vessels. The catch could have been higher except for the limited storage facilities and problems with shipping the catch to market. TML acquired two new pole-and-line vessels, the F/V Nei Kaneati and F/V Nei Tiaroa in One vessel was around the same size as the other two vessels, while F/V Nei Tiaroa was much smaller at 32 GRT. The added fishing power allowed the catches to increase to 2,540 mt in However, the catches fluctuated greatly from year to year and downtime of the vessels at different times cost TML many lost fishing days. In 1987 the landing of the four vessels was only 434 mt. Two new vessels were added to TML s fleet in These two vessels were constructed in Fiji under EC funding. The vessels were 80 GRT. The arrival of the two new vessels did increase catches, and TML s landings for the six vessels were 1536 mt in 1988 and 2273 mt in 1989 with only five vessels in operation. One of the first vessels was decommissioned in 1988 due to its age and the 2

13 persistent breakdowns and cost of repairs. Catches continued to decline with the five vessels landing only 569 mt in The second of the original vessels was decommissioned in this year for the same reasons as the first. This had the fleet back to four vessels. The decision was also made in 1990 to re-locate the fleet of four vessels to the Solomon Islands on a temporary basis. Unfortunately this venture was unsuccessful and did not recoup costs. This lead to TML s board suspending operations with staff layoffs. Some fishing was continued with three boats landing 178 mt in 1991 and 542 mt in TML also purchased catch from the local fishermen as part of their operation, especially those working out of south Tarawa. The purchases fluctuated greatly from year to year with 2.9 mt in 1987, mt in 1988, 117 mt in 1989, mt in 1990, 6.6 mt in 1991 and 14.2 mt in The sale of fish to TML by local fishermen was a result of price and over supply of tuna on the local market. In 1992/93, TML s facilities, including the vessels, went though another round of rehabilitation. The cost of refurbishing two of the vessels and the cold stores was met by Japan, while the costs associated with the other two vessels was met by the EC. With the Board dismissed after the failure of the company to catch fish in Kiribati waters, and the attempt to re-locate the fleet to the Solomon Islands, the company was in a state of flux. The board members at the time had been issued with stock for the company (one dollar shares), which possibly meant they had a control over the company. This took many years to resolve, with a caretaker manager in place during this time. Also during this time, TML had one of their pole-and-line vessels converted for tuna longlining. Japan provided a fishing master for fishing trials, however the vessel had continual breakdowns due to the poor maintenance of the vessel. Tuna longline trials were also conducted by TML on a confiscated Taiwanese longline vessel during this time, although the results were inconclusive. During the last few years of TML s existence in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the company was reduced to only two pole-and-line vessels. These two pole-and-line vessels are now gone, with one sinking at the mooring (had to be removed and taken outside the reef and sunk) and the other washing up on the reef inside the lagoon. A sad end to what was Kiribati s first attempt to develop domestic fishing capacity to harvest the large tuna resource that passes through their EEZ Foreign fishing access The declaration of Kiribati s 200 EEZ in 1978 meant that distant water fishing nations needed to negotiate fishing access to fish in the waters of Kiribati. Japan was the first country to do this, and in June 1978 signed a two year agreement with a USD $600,000 fee and a restriction on the number of vessels that could fish. In 1980, Japanese vessels caught a total of 15,050 mt (12,250 mt by pole-andline and 2800 mt by longline). In October 1979, a one year fishing agreement was negotiated with Korea. The agreement allowed for an access payment of USD $185,000 with the number of vessels not to exceed 135 on a daily basis. The catch during the agreement period was only 349 mt, by longlining. The agreement with Japan was not renewed in 1980, as it was felt that the compensation appeared to be disproportionate to that paid to other Pacific countries. This lead to no Japanese aid to the fisheries sector and the loss of access fee revenue. At the end of 1981, Japan commenced negotiations by hosting a ministerial level meeting, which resulted in a new fisheries agreement and a JICA aid agreement. In 1984, Japanese, Korean and US vessels were working in Kiribati s EEZ under access agreements. In that year Kiribati received AUD $1 million from Japan for pole-and-line and longline vessel access, AUD $224,700 from Korea for longline access and AUD million from the American Tunaboat Association for access for the US purse seine fleet The total catch by foreign vessels in 1984 was 11,788 mt. Russian purse seiners were licensed to fish in the Kiribati EEZ for two years, 3

14 and they caught 1045 mt in 1985 and 1916 mt in In 1985, the total access fees paid by all nations was around USD 4 million. Japan (pole-and-line and longline) and Korea (longline) continued their access agreements with Kiribati. The US purse seiners were into the second year of operation under the US Multi-lateral treaty in 1989, which gave them access to FFA member country s EEZ. Several American Samoa licensed vessels were given one year licences to Kiribati s EEZ in the same year. Other nations were also licensed to fish in Kiribati s EEZ in subsequent years. The access fee for foreign fishing access totalled AUD $3.2 m in 1989 (catch of 22,907 mt), $4.3 m in 1990 (catch of 75,587 mt), $12.3 m in 1991, and $12.9 m in 1992 (catch of 128,000 mt). The substantial increase in access fees in the early 1990s is attributed to the large increase in catch by the US purse seine fleet in Kiribati s waters under the US treaty. Kiribati entered the purse seine fishery in 1994, when they signed a joint venture agreement with Kao Fishing Company of Japan. Under this arrangement, one purse seiner was flagged as a Kiribati vessel, although it only fished occasionally in Kiribati s EEZ. From 1995 to 2000 this vessel caught between 3000 and 6700 mt of tuna annually. Also during this period US, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese and some other Pacific Island flagged vessels worked in the Kiribati EEZ, with the level of effort somewhat seasonal. Catches for the purse seine fleet in the Kiribati EEZ varied from a low of 55,000 mt in 1996 to a high of around 260,000 mt in A more recent event in the Kiribati s purse seine fishery is the licensing of Spanish vessels to fish in and around the Line Group. In 2000 and 2001 there were 8 and 11 Spanish vessels licensed by Kiribati, with catches of 8500 and 12,900 mt respectively. It should be noted that the majority of catch was taken to the east of the Kiribati EEZ. Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese vessel made up the majority of the tuna longline fleet in Kiribati waters from 1996 to 2000, although the Japanese fleet reduced over this period, with the Korean fleet expanding. Effort and catches have fluctuated over this period, with 18.5 million hooks set in 1996 for a catch of 9600 mt, and 35.1 million hooks set in 1999 for a catch of 11,170 mt. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna generally make up 80 to 90 per cent of the catch by weight. Kiribati continues to licence foreign tuna longliners, although this may change over time if a domestic longline fleet is established Baitfish culture Concerns over baitfish availability in support of a pole-and-line fishery for Kiribati lead to the establishment of a pilot baitfish project in The project was funded by the UK, but was under the direction of the FAO/UNDP. The project itself was to assess the possibilities of cultivating milkfish for use as live bait for pole-and-line fishing operations. A 7 ha pilot farm was established on Tarawa for the trials. The results of the trials were encouraging, and this lead to the establishment of the Temaiku Fishfarm on Tarawa in 1975, also funded by the UK. The farm covered 40 ha and was comprised of 7 small ponds (7 ha) and 5 large ponds (33 ha), connected to the lagoon by a series of channels with the water flow controlled by sluice gates. The ponds were stocked through a mix of natural recruitment and the purchase of fry from local villagers. The small ponds were used for the production of live bait, but there was limited demand for this at the time with Te Mautari only having two pole-and-line vessels in Two of the larger ponds were devoted to producing foodfish, while the remaining ponds were used for a mix of baitfish and foodfish, depending on the requirements at the time. The fry took 8 to 10 weeks to reach baitfish size, with foodfish taking around 6 months to reach 250 to 300 grams. Production in the first 6 months of 1981 amounted to 10.8 mt of baitfish and 7.7 mt of foodfish. This equated to a production rate of roughly 930 kg/ha/year, which was lower than the expected 1500 kg/ha/year. The foodfish sold locally for AUD $1.32/kg, with some exported to Nauru at a higher price. The baitfish was sold to Te Mautari for AUD $2.50/kg. The Temaiku Fishfarm came under local management in mid-1982, and was extended by a further 40 ha in 1983 with EC funding. In 1984, the milkfish farm was 80 ha in size with 43 ponds of varying sizes, including nurseries, acclamation and grow out ponds. In 1983 when the new extension was being worked on, and the 4

15 extension was opened to the lagoon by a sluice gate, numerous tilapia entered the pond system and flourished, causing a major production constraint as they predate on milkfish fry. An eradication programme was immediately implemented, and this controlled the spread but did not eradicate the species entirely. Production of milkfish at the Temaiku Fishfarm continued each year, with the period 1984 to 1987 producing an annual average of around 8 mt of milkfish for human consumption. This fish sold for AUD $2.50/kg, with around 95 per cent of this exported to Nauru. The demand for baitfish by the pole-and-line fleet was much higher, with around 12.5 mt produced both in 1982 and This reduced in 1984 and 1985 to only 3.6 mt and 4.3 mt respectively due to tilapia entering the ponds and reducing production, but production increased again in 1986 and 1987 to 17.7 mt and 16.9 mt respectively. Te Mautari paid on average AUD $1.75/kg for the live bait (8 to 12 gram fish), with each vessel needing 150 to 400 kg of bait depending on the catch of wild baitfish. With the tilapia problem, the harvest of food fish from the ponds in 1989 amounted to 3296 kg, of which 1487 kg (45%) was tilapia, 1628 kg was milkfish (50%) and the remaining 181 kg was other species. The production of baitfish plummeted though, with only 3.3 mt in 1988 and 2.1 mt in With the decline in demand by TML for milkfish as live bait, the focus of production at the Temaiku Fishfarm swung more to producing food fish for local and export sales. By 1998, there was no production for TML s vessels as they were no longer fishing. Milkfish were raised as baitfish for artisanal fishermen, and they were used during horizontal and vertical longlining trials conducted by the Fisheries Division. In addition, milkfish fry and fingerlings were exported to the Nauru Fisheries Department for grow-out trials in The milkfish ponds continued to be under the Ministry s control in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with assistance from Japan Tuna Corporation. Negotiations with Japan Tuna have been on-going since 1998 for them to take full control and operate the ponds on a commercial basis to improve production rates. Unfortunately this has not occurred, and the ponds continue under their assistance using an integrated approach, with pigs and chickens used to increase yields from the ponds. The eggs from the hens and meat from the pigs are also sold to increase revenue for the operation. Unfortunately the total harvest of milkfish is less than 20 mt/year, and this could be a lot higher if worked commercially. It is hoped that the farm will start to produce bait-sized milkfish for tuna longlining operations in the future. A large system of ponds exists on Christmas Island, covering some 750 ha of land. The ponds are linked to the lagoon and the Fisheries Division has installed sluice gates to control the flow in and out of the ponds. Milkfish are the species being cultured for foodfish, as there was no demand for baitfish in the early 1980s and the ponds were too large to selectively grow this species to a baitfish size. There were also problems with low productivity rates of only 130 kg/ha/year. This was attributed to a range of possible causes, including the high salinity of the ponds, lack of nutrients, and poor recruitment, possibly as a result of the high salinity. Like Tarawa, recruitment of fry to the ponds was conducted naturally with the flow of water in and out of the ponds through the sluice gates. There is a huge potential for developing these ponds and producing baitfish for future tuna fishing activities, but only time will tell if this occurs or not Development of small-scale tuna fishing Running in parallel to the industrial tuna fishing operation, local fishermen in Tarawa had traditionally been fishing tuna using pole-and-line fishing with pearlshell lures and trolling. It was estimated that in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the annual catch by these vessels was 700 to 800 mt. TML purchased some of this catch, however, the price paid by TML was based on the world price, and this is generally lower than the local market price. Therefore, fishermen only sold to TML at times of over supply on the local market. 5

16 The Fisheries Division has tried to kick-start other forms of domestic small-scale and medium-scale development of the tuna resource. They were involved with assisting TML in the pole-and-line fishing venture, mainly assisting with the milkfish for live bait project. With the arrival of a 15 m extension vessel in 1980 under Australian aid, the Fisheries Division was equipped to do experimental fishing, along with search and rescue and fisheries surveillance. In 1983, the Government of Kiribati requested assistance from FAO, UNDP to develop a suitable fishing craft for Kiribati artisanal fishermen along traditional designs. A consultant naval architect came to Kiribati and designed two outrigger canoes: KIR 1, outboard powered (10 HP) with auxiliary sailing rig; and KIR 2, sail powered for outer islands with 4 HP outboard as auxiliary. Both designs could carry an ice box. In the same year, a UN volunteer boat builder arrived in Kiribati to construct the two prototype canoes. These were then trialled extensively both in Tarawa and in the outer islands. The fisheries extension vessel was used to transport the canoes to some of the outer islands for the trials. The canoe designs were very successful, and the Fisheries Division assisted several local boat builders to take on the design, which they did. During the mid 1980s, several other designs of outrigger canoes evolved from the original designs, some with a focus on sail power and others focused on outboard engine propulsion. The FAO design wooden handreel used to fish for deep-water snapper was introduced in 1984 to encourage fishermen to use these vessels outside the reef. In 1984, SPC was requested to provide technical assistance to introduce deep-water snapper fishing techniques using the FAO design wooden handreel. This followed an earlier project in which deepwater snapper fishing trials were conducted around Tarawa, Maiana and Kuria Islands. The 1984 project introduced this gear and technique to Abaiang, Abemama, Arorae and Tamana Islands, as well as follow-up work around Tarawa. Several of the Kiribati design canoes were fitted out with the FAO wooden handreels for the fishing trials and training exercises. The canoes themselves were also assessed, and found to be well suited to this style of fishing. In focusing more on the domestic development for small-scale tuna operations, the Fisheries Division commenced two projects in 1988 under their Experimental Fishing Section. The first was a smallscale longlining project using the division s 8.5 m skiff and a short horizontal longline of 3 to 6 km with 70 to 150 hooks. The second project was a fish aggregating device (FAD) programme, with the accessing of funds and the purchase of materials. With the FAD materials on hand, 12 FADs were deployed in 1988, mainly around Tarawa and adjacent islands. A further four FADs were deployed in 1989 and two more in Unfortunately, two FADs were lost on deployment as the water was deeper that the length of rope, and two others were lost in the first week. Two other FADs were lost within six months with another three lost after around one year. The remaining nine FADs as of May 1990 had been on station from between 33 days (2 FADs) and two years (2 FADs). All but two of the FADs were deployed in depths between 400 and 800 m, with two exceptions, one in 300 m and the other in 120 m. The small-scale tuna longlining trials resulted in 23 sets of the line, with a catch of 81 fish. Yellowfin tuna was the most predominant species with 23 fish weighing 463 kg. Reef sharks (16 fish for 477 kg) and thresher shark (8 fish for 360 kg) were the next most common species taken. Given the random nature of the trials, the limited gear being used and the restricted ability of the vessel to look for productive fishing areas, the line was set in the vicinity of FADs. In fact, several of the sets had one end of the line attached to a FAD. These sets were the most productive. Bait was also a problem with four types trialled during the survey (milkfish, flying fish, sardines and saury). Saury was the most successful, but it was also the most expensive. Future trials would need to use a mix of bait to keep the costs down. Also in 1988, the Outer Island Fisheries Project (OIFP) was established on Abemama and Butaritari to try to develop commercial tuna fishing in the outer islands of the Gilbert Group. Each of the two centres was serviced by a fleet of 15 boats: 10 x KIR 4 design outrigger canoes and 5 x 5 m planning- 6

17 hull skiffs. Unfortunately the fishing operation did not produce the catches as estimated, with 1989 being the most productive year with a catch of 120 mt at one island and 108 mt at the other. Declining catches in the following years (less than 60 mt/year) saw the two operations close in Catching tuna was the main focus of this project, however, a large percentage of the catch was taken from the lagoon and reef. The OIFP was continued on other islands after 1992, and this is covered under Section A second gear development project based on small-scale horizontal longlining was initiated in 1989, when SPC was requested to provide technical assistance. A one year project was established using a 6 m Yamaha skiff with 40 HP outboard. The gear consisted of 5 miles of Kuralon mainline supporting around 100 branchlines. Thirty fishing trips were completed with a catch of 139 fish weighing 3035 kg. Yellowfin tuna was the predominant species with 68 fish weighing 1364 kg, although 40 sharks weighing 1321 kg were also taken. FADs were deployed in the Line Islands from 1989 to 1993, with eight deployments. These were deployed at Christmas Island (5), Washington Island (1) and Fanning Island (2), with most being moored in 300 to 500 m of water. Unfortunately, all but one FAD was lost within three weeks of deployment, which indicated a problem with either the construction of the FADs or they were not deployed in suitable locations and no site surveys were undertaken. The one FAD that survived was productive and local fishermen trolled around it when weather permitted. This FAD lasted almost four years before the mooring parted. Building of the different design Kiribati canoes continued in the late 1980s, and in the first eight years to 1992, it was estimated that over 550 were constructed. This was a hugely successful project, which employed several boat builders, their assistants and labourers. Fisheries implemented Phase II of its FAD programme in early 1994, using funds sourced from the economic development fund administered by the Forum Fisheries Agency. Materials were purchased and 20 FADs were deployed around 10 outer islands. Unfortunately, 14 of the FADs were lost within a week, with the remaining 6 being lost soon after. The programme was put on hold until an assessment was made of the cause of the FAD losses. One possibility was the concrete blocks breaking up, as they were constructed on each island as part of the training, and used the following day for the deployment. The Fisheries Division was keen to introduce new fishing techniques to local small-scale fishermen. With the deployment of FADs, the method they wanted to trial was vertical longlining, to target the larger, deeper-swimming tunas that aggregate around the FADs. Fisheries was able to get funding for this project in 1995, with several FADs deployed. Unfortunately the FADs were lost around the Tarawa area, and there were no materials left to rig more. Therefore, the vertical longline trials had to be conducted without FADs, outside the reef in open water. The vertical longline trials were scheduled to be completed in one year. However, other work commitments meant that the trials were extended, with 30 trips conducted from December 1995 to June The results were encouraging, with 49 yellowfin tuna (562 kg) taken as well as two bigeye tuna (10.5 kg). Two marlin (163.5 kg), one dogtooth tuna (16.5 kg) and one mahi mahi (8 kg) were also taken as well as some bycatch of snake mackerel and sharks. An overall catch rate of 19.5 kg/100 hooks or 5.7 kg/100 hooks/hour was achieved. The conclusions from the trials were that this was a good method for use by local fishermen as the gear was inexpensive, existing boats could be used, and the method was simple. However to assist fishermen with this method, FADs were needed. As the vertical longline fishing trials were being concluded, the Fisheries Division was already looking at options for developing small-scale tuna longlining in the country. TML was converting one of their pole-and-line vessels to conduct tuna longlining trials, but such a vessel would be too expensive for local fishermen. Therefore the Fisheries Division had a 12 m twin-hull vessel designed by an FAO naval architect, and contracted the Betiraoi Boat Building Company to construct the vessel. The construction of the vessel (F/V Tekokona II) commenced in 1998, and it was agreed that 7

18 the SPC would provide a Masterfisherman to assist with the rigging of the tuna longline gear, and conduct the initial fishing trials to train up the skipper and crew in the operation of the gear. The technical assistance provided to Kiribati in regard to F/V Tekokona II was in several phases. The first phase was to get the vessel geared up. Several problems were encountered with the main engine and the hydraulic system to be installed. Once this was sorted out, fishing trials were conducted in A total of 13 fishing trips were undertaken in 2000, six by the Fisheries Division and seven with assistance from SPC. All trips were conducted from Tarawa, although the harsh weather conditions at the time greatly restricted the area that could be fished, and the vessel was restricted to the lee of the island. Catch rates varied during the trials, with an overall average of 54.9 kg/100 hooks of saleable fish being achieved. The seaworthiness of the vessel was proven during the fishing trials, and a list of recommendations was provided to improve the fishing capability of this vessel. The assessment of F/V Tekokona II and the recommendations made to improve the vessel were taken into consideration when the F/V Tekokona III was constructed in 2001/2002. Initial fishing trials on this vessel were encouraging, and the vessel will soon depart for Christmas Island, where the boat will be based for fishing and exporting trials under CPP s operation Sportfishing Sportfishing, or rather gamefishing when concerned with the tuna resource, is in its infancy in Kiribati. In Tarawa, there are probably 8 gamefishing-type vessels. There is a tournament every month, and the usual turnout is around 4 boats. The main fishing locations are the south side of Abaiang (closest island to the north), the north side of Maiana (closest island to the south) and the northern side of Tarawa. These locations provided the best catches of yellowfin and skipjack tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, and to a lesser extent, sailfish and marlin. A lot of trolling is also conducted close to the reef for trevally, barracuda and occasionally rainbow runner. In Christmas Island the focus is on sportfishing inside the reef, primarily using flyfishing gear to target bonefish. There are quite a few sportfishermen who come to Christmas Island specifically for this adventure. Gamefishing on the other hand is not practiced very often, and there are only one or two vessels in the area designed for this purpose. 2.2 Tuna storage, processing and marketing facilities in Kiribati There have been three different processing, storage and marketing facilities developed by the government in Kiribati over the years. These are Te Mautari Limited, Marine Exports Division/Kiritimati Marine Export Limited, and the Outer Island Fisheries Project. These have now been amalgamated into one government company, Central Pacific Producers (CPP) Limited. The private sector has tried to develop and expand into tuna fishing within the government dominance of this sector, with limited success Te Mautari Limited (TML) The first fish storage and processing facility in Kiribati was the complex of Te Mautari Limited (TML), which was established in February The facility consisted of a 50 mt cold store for tuna, a 10 mt cold store, a 3 mt chiller, a 2 mt/day (1 mt/12 hour) blast freezer, and a 3 mt/day flake ice plant with 3 mt of storage. This limited capacity meant that shipments of fish needed to be made regularly to allow the company s two pole-and-line vessels to operate efficiently. Unfortunately, the initial plan to ship the frozen skipjack to Hawaii in containers did not happen due to problems with the shipping company accepting the consignments. This meant that the catching vessels needed to deliver their catch to Majuro in the Marshall Islands for transhipment to the cannery in Hawaii. TML also purchased fish from local fishermen at a fixed price regardless of species or amount of fish. TML then marketed the fish they purchased locally through their complex and to other areas using a truck. In the first 4 months of operation, TML purchased 125 mt of fish from local fishermen. Sales 8