Inshore Fisheries & Aquaculture
The Aquaculture and Inshore Fisheries Division provides a fully integrated approach to all fisheries management other than commercial offshore fisheries. It covers both subsistence and commercial inshore fishing, and conservation and economic development of fish stocks.
The conservation of the resource in healthy ecosystems is managed through extensive monitoring of water quality and marine resources, as well as providing technical support for traditional conservation methods such as ra’ui. An ecosystems-based approach to fisheries management is being progressively adopted to meet the dual obligations of economic development and sustainable resource management.
Conservation is supplemented by the deployment of fish aggregating devices (FADs) under the Cook Islands FAD Programme, which increase food security and rural incomes, and relieve pressure on reef resources.
Aquaculture also offers the opportunity to improve livelihoods without depleting resources.
Currently, the Inshore Director, three Marine Scientists and a Fisheries Officer are based at MMR headquarters. One Senior Fisheries Officer and a Fisheries Officer are stationed at the Fisheries Development & Extension Unit at Avarua Harbour. On Aitutaki, there is one Station Manager and two Fisheries Officers manning the Araura (Aitutaki) Marine Research Centre; and fisheries officers in Mangaia, Mitiaro, Mauke, Atiu, Nassau, Palmerston and Pukapuka (3).
- Improve income generating opportunities for private sector particularly in the Outer Islands through increased provision of assistance to allow small scale fisheries opportunities and to develop new local commercial export fisheries.
- Ensure safe, sustainable fishing and conservation practices, the protection of culture and tradition and long term food security.
- Respond to outbreaks of COT (Crown of Thorns), HAB, ciguatera and any occurrences of CB (coral bleaching).
- Distribute project funding assistance to stakeholders through the Fisheries Development Facility (FDF) to develop domestic fisheries.
- Conducting marine resources assessments and monitoring of key inshore fishery resources.
- Developing island Lagoon Management Plans.
- Maintain the national FAD Programme, including maintenance and new deployments.
- Providing extension services, training fishers in fishing techniques, e.g. for tuna fishing and FAD fishing.
- Collecting artisanal catch data through the TAILs App.
- Managing the Fuel Subsidy Scheme under the EU- Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA).
- Managing the Fisheries Small Grants Scheme, under the Fisheries Development Facility.
- Conducting ecological monitoring at ra’ui sites.
- Assisting the island harvests for giant clam (pa’ua) through harvest quota and controls with focus on Manihiki and Penrhyn, Aitutaki
- AMRC (Araura Marine Research Centre) programme, focussing on giant clams spawning and potential aquaculture research other species such as shrimp and milkfish.
- Supporting marine eco-tourism activities.
- Supporting key stakeholders groups and management bodies including the Cook Islands Fishing Association (CIFA) and Aitutaki Bonefish Management Committee (ABMC).