This just in from our partners at The Pew Charitable Trusts
Marquesas people have worked for about 10 years on a large MPA project in their waters, with a 100,000km² sustainable fishing area for local boats (less than 12 meters) around the islands and at least 200,000km² strict protection offshore (out of the 700,000km² of Marquesas waters). After several commitments at the international level, the government of French Polynesia stepped back on this project last year. And earlier this year, local investors announced the future acquisition of 100 tuna boats to fish in Marquesas, targeting big eye tuna (already threatened with an 84% biomass loss). Local investors are presumably helped by Chinese investors. They also receive a 70% of public subsidy from the local government for the construction of the boats (already 5 boats financed this year with a 8 million USD public support).
We [Pew Charitable Trusts] went to Marquesas last month to meet the population. The tuna boat project receives a strong public opposition from local fishermen, associations and elected people. We are streamlining a strategy with them. The main objective would be to help Marquesas people to finalize their Marine Protected Area project, probably through local consultations, submission of a consensual MPA plan, communication and empowering local stakeholders. A support from international groups would be useful to build the case and bring more visibility to the project.
From: Bev ET & Gaetan Hanncast
Re: Fishery project : Nuku Hiva
We are writing to you to plea for your help !
The Marquesas islands are unique because of their natural environment, dramatic scenery, and friendly people. This has tremendous value – if preserved well – for current and future generations of the Marquesan people.
Therefore we want to bring to your attention our deep concern regarding the plans to bring industrial fishing to Nuku Hiva and the Marquesas Islands !
If those plans go ahead we strongly believe the repercussions will be disastrous for the local people and the Marquesan Land and Marine Environment.
We have witnessed the extinction of many species, the accelerated destruction of our eco systems around the world. Our ocean and planet can no longer sustain the overfishing that is currently going on,we are headed for the collapse of ecosystems globally. Let’s hope that we have not yet reached the tipping point…
It is our understanding that the locals in Nuku Hiva are against the plan to destroy their bay with industrial facilities and that only people who stand to make short term money are in favor of this ludicrous project.
Once the industrial fisheries are installed, pollution and depletion of species will follow quickly only to benefit a few in the short term.
In a world that is moving towards high quality tourism, we believe that the Marquesas — if they choose to protect their unique environment — have a unique opportunity to attract high income tourism and generate attractive revenue streams for many generations of its habitants. The establishment of an industrial fishery would be negatively perceived and the associated revenue streams will be reduced if not lost forever.