From a Tuvaluan perspective, fish are a major form of nutrition in the island nation, and the country’s massive 753,139 km2 EEZ provides major economic opportunities in terms of small and large-scale fishing and transhipment, with fisheries constituting 30%-40% of Tuvalu’s annual revenue. Tuvalu’s strength in regional fisheries comes from multilateral cooperation. Tuvalu is a party to UNCLOS and a member of Pacific regional organisations on fisheries such as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), the Forum Fisheries Agency, the Pacific Community (SPC), and the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Tuvalu also participates in international, regional, and bilateral arrangements including bilateral fishing agreements, sub-regional pools for fishing days, and the South Pacific Tuna Treaty with the United States.

There is an opportunity to develop Tuvalu’s fisheries further, but this will require greater cooperation with diplomatic allies and regional partners. The benefits Tuvalu seeks to derive from fisheries overlap with Tuvaluan ideals of moral responsibility or being a good neighbour (falepili) and being proactive (matapulapula) given that fisheries are a shared Pacific resource and one avenue through which the Pacific region has actively moved toward greater collaboration for the collective regional benefit.

Ensure the Sustainable and Beneficial Use of Living Marine Resources

The Government of Tuvalu seeks to enhance the nation’s fisheries operations, especially through its major international, regional, and bilateral fisheries revenue streams like the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS), joint ventures, and transhipment opportunities. This can be done by improving relationships with fishing partners of all types and aligning diplomatic priorities to fisheries priorities. However, the Government also ensures that oceans are not exploited and are sustainably managed so that fish stocks are maintained well into the future.

Promote Local and Regional Fisheries

Tuvalu strives toward opportunities for Tuvaluans to catch and sell their own fish whether through small private or large commercial ventures and invests fisheries revenue in further income-generating activities. Tuvalu encourages other Pacific Island nations to do the same, recognising that Pacific fisheries must be owned and operated by and for Pacific peoples and to their benefit.