Find Fisheries expertise in Vanuatu

Fishing has been an important historical source of income and nutrition in Vanuatu. Together with agriculture and forestry, fishing contributed 21% to Vanuatu’s GDP in 2009, while official estimates show that fishing contributes between 0.8% and 1.3% to Vanuatu’s GDP alone. Vanuatu has a fairly extensive water area of 680,000 km2, and the length of the coast of the islands covers about 1920 km. Fisheries are estimated to employ over 15,000 people in the primary sector, while the number in the secondary sector is unknown. Vanuatu is by far a net exporter of fish, exporting about US$62 million annually, while importing only about $2.8 million.

Fisheries can be divided into the marine, inland, recreational and aquaculture sub-sectors. The marine sub-sector is composed of an offshore and a coastal sector. Offshore fisheries are on an industrial scale and composed of both local and foreign owned vessels, while coastal fishing is predominantly of a subsistence nature with some sales in local markets. The offshore catch profile is made up of the four main commercial species of tuna, namely the bigeye (10% of catch by weight), yellowfin (16%), skipjack and albacore (60%). The coastal fisheries catch profile is very diverse, with five sixths of the catch caught by subsistence fishermen.

The inland sub-sector on the other hand is based within the 1% of total land area that is freshwater. Inland fisheries are almost entirely subsistence in nature. The catch profile is very diverse, covering 18 families of local freshwater fish, three families of introduced fish, and several species of shrimps and crab. The most important species in the industry include the Khulia, Lutjanus, Gerres, Monodactylus and Scatophagus, which are all local species, as well as four species of mullets and freshwater eels. Cyprinus and two species of tilapia, as introduced species, are also fairly important.

The recreational sub-sector, especially sport fishing has grown steadily with Vanuatu becoming recognised as an international game-fishing destination. Finally, the aquaculture sub-sector is dominated by cultured giant clams, the production of tilapias and blue shrimp.

Fisheries organisations in Vanuatu
Ministry for Fisheries