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New Lab To Help Protect Key Pacific Tuna Fisheries

New Zealand is playing its part in helping protect tuna fisheries in the Pacific supporting a new science facility in Nouméa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, Jenny Marcroft says.

Ms Marcroft is in Nouméa to officially open the Genomics and Otolith laboratory, which will be a key part of the Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access (CSEPTA) Programme.

“The programme provides an early warning system for the effects of climate change on tuna populations. Tuna is a vital part of the economy for many Pacific nations, providing employment for more than 26,000 people, and almost a billion US dollars in export revenue annually for the region.

“New Zealand’s $28 million investment reflects the importance of sustainably managed tuna fisheries in the economic, social, and cultural future of Pacific countries,” Ms Marcroft says.

“The threat of climate change to Pacific nations includes significant impacts to oceans and fisheries. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s International Climate Finance Commitment, which has provided the investment for the Programme, New Zealand is partnering with regional agencies to support Pacific countries to address these challenges.”

The laboratory will be operated by the Pacific Community (SPC), which is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific, with 27 country and territory members, including New Zealand.

“The new facility will enable SPC to engage in important analytical work on the impacts of climate change on tuna fisheries and supports the training of Pacific Island scientists in fisheries and climate science.

“Knowing how tuna populations respond to climate change will allow for better fisheries management and is important information for securing investment in tuna processing and negotiating fisheries access agreements between nations,” Ms Marcroft says.

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