Pacific: improving livelihoods for coastal communities in the Pacific

The island nations of the Pacific depend heavily on coral reef and coastal fisheries resources – globally, the highest per capita fish consumption is in the Pacific islands. Coral reefs support a rich variety of animals and plants that are valuable as food or for trade, including fish, spiny lobsters, sea cucumbers, giant clams, pearl oysters, shells such as trochus and green snail, and seaweeds. Traditionally, these animals and plants were harvested at subsistence levels. More recently, the development of lucrative domestic and commercial export markets has provided coastal villagers with more opportunities to earn money from coral reef species. Unfortunately, the transition from a subsistence to a market economy has often led to chronic over-fishing on many reefs meaning that too few of the most prized animals remain to sustain reasonable harvests. Rapid increases in human populations, changes in land use and destructive fishing methods have compounded the problem by degrading some reefs to the point where they can no longer support commercial quantities of these species.


WorldFish Center (2005)
WorldFish Center. Penang, Malaysia. 4 p.