Tuna is recognised as one of the greatest shared natural resources of the Pacific Islands region, providing jobs, government revenue (contributing USD550 million to government revenue through license and access fees in 2020) and contributing towards meeting the nutritional needs of the Pacific Islands community. However, some of the region’s key challenges – population growth, climate change and overfishing – will place increasing pressure on the sustainability of the region’s tuna resources.
Despite these challenges, there is a significant opportunity to develop the sector – through value-add opportunities, maximising the utilisation of each fish and facilitating inclusive and innovative value chains to improve the retention of value for the Pacific region.
Extensive research is available regarding the Pacific tuna sector; however, analysis has been high-level and conceptual, focused on limited value-add opportunities such as loining, canning and processing waste into fish oil, and/or climate change. This research provides valuable background information but is targeted at governments and policymakers. Additional research is available regarding opportunities for Pacific Island communities and fish-based livelihoods, given the important role that fish plays in the wellbeing of these communities.
However, a research gap remains with respect to the type of research required by commercial stakeholders, highlighting compelling commercial opportunities for investment in the tuna sector and identifying barriers to commercialisation. Economic growth in the Pacific region will need to be driven by the private sector to be sustainable, supported by government and research institutions, with benefits flowing on to the economy including small fisher communities.
Research under this landscape and opportunity analysis is a precursor to development projects and/or commercial ventures, with the overarching intent of addressing systemic barriers and focusing resources on the most promising opportunities. To improve the likelihood of commercial uptake post conclusion of this project, analysis will be grounded in economic data with recommendations structured as opportunity prospectuses/pre-feasibility studies and the private sector engaged throughout the project activities, along with stakeholders such as government, research institutions and non-government organisations.
Outcomes of this research will include:
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