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First ever SPC workshop on coastal sport fishing

Releasing freshly caught fish is a totally new concept for fishermen in Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. Seven local fishermen and prospective fishing guides practised the principle of ‘catch-and-release’ as part of a sport fishing workshop conducted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Ministry of Marine Resources in Aitutaki (16–23 June).

The workshop was part of a larger training programme aimed at building an initial pool of certified sport fishing guides to support the development of tourism-based sport fishing in Aitutaki. While fly-fishing for bonefish is already attracting anglers from New Zealand, the US and even Europe, casting and jigging inside and outside the lagoon could also draw fishing tourists to Aitutaki, provided local guides can acquire the right gear and tackle and upgrade their boats.

In parallel with this development, early in July, the ministry will be conducting community consultations to refine the draft ‘bonefish fishery management plan’. This integrated project combines management and development and may help improve livelihoods and bring other spin-off benefits through expanding tourism opportunities. The project will continue to be carefully monitored by the SPC Coastal Fisheries Programme as it could provide a suitable model for other Pacific Island countries and territories.


For more information, please contact Michel Blanc, SPC Nearshore Fisheries Development Adviser

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