CLIMATE change is going to have an effect on tuna stocks in the future due changes in the sea surface temperature.
This was highlighted by Dr Transform Aqorau, Vice Chancellor of Solomon Islands National University (SINU), in a talkback show over the national broadcaster to mark the World Tuna Day yesterday.
Dr Aqorau said because of the changes to the climate situation globally, tuna stocks in the Pacific region would be affected in the years to come.
He said it has been predicted that tuna stocks will migrate to the warmer waters in the eastern part of the pacific as a result of climate change.
“By 2050, tuna might move from western [Pacific] waters due to climate change,” he said.
Dr Aqorau said during La Nina – when the weather is cooler – the tuna shifts to the western region.
He also highlighted that humans do not control how nature changes and therefore it is important for humans to prepare for the changes.
Dr Aqorau, who is a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), also highlighted during the talkback show that all academic institutions play an important role to support communities and nations to discuss problems related to the fisheries sector and promote evidence-based research.
“These evidences and data will generate information to provide more independent analysis of the tuna stocks and their movement,” he said.
He also highlighted that an academic institution like SINU is important towards building capacity through training now and into the future.
“So we need to collaborate with industries and organisations to build the capacity of our locals.
“Because understanding this will help us work with other research institutions overseas to see how we can respond when it comes to managing and looking after our tuna stocks,” Dr Aqorau said.
Dr Aqorau added that one way is to look at how to develop tools to predict the movement of tuna stocks and changes in the weather pattern and sea surface.
He said as one of the countries that depends on fisheries for revenue, Solomon Islands need to have tools and information to know its tuna stocks.
“Our revenue depends on how many tuna stocks are in our waters.”
Dr Aqorau also highlighted that negotiations are underway with China to setup a Pacific research centre at the SINU Kukum Campus.
He explained this centre of learning will have a laboratory to do more analysis on science and biology on tuna and how they respond to changes in the environment.
“This is to help us predict and what ways we will help to know our tuna stocks.
“Model shows there is going to be a decline in stocks in our waters.
“Therefore, I see the role of university in bringing everyone together to discuss this important issue that has an impact on the community.”
Dr Aqorau said technology is important to drive the changes and must be embraced to support the tuna industry.
By MOFFAT MAMU