Find Fisheries expertise in Kiribati

Official estimates show that fishing was responsible for about 9% of the GDP of Kiribati in 2008. Alongside having some of the most productive tuna fishing grounds in the Pacific, the 33 islands of Kiribati’s  has significant Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)  at around 3.5 million km2. Kiribati derives nearly 40% of its GDP from fishing licenses which are linked to the size of catch and fluctuate from year to year.

The relatively new aquarium fish industry in Kiribati is thriving, estimated to account for nearly 80% of domestic fish exports. Targeted fish species include butterflyfish, damselfish, angelfish, and surgeonfish. The primary export market is the USA.  

Kiribati’s marine areas harbour many species of commercial interest including, lobster, deep-water shrimp, giant clam, ark shell, pearly oyster and sea cucumbers also known as bêche-de-mer. However, these inshore resources do not exist in quantities to make them feasible for commercial exploitation. These resources are exploited by subsistence and small-scale commercial fishing throughout the islands using traditional canoes. Nearly all villages in Kiribati are fishing communities, all of which are marine based as there are no freshwater fisheries.

The catch profile for the offshore industrial fishery is dominated by tuna which is nearly exclusively caught by foreign vessels.  The establishment of a domestic commercial fishery is severely hampered by annual catches depending on climatic and oceanographic conditions, whereby catches may be high one year and very low another year.

While there is no inland sector, Kiribati does have an aquaculture industry which produces black pearls, seaweed and milkfish.

Fisheries organisations in Kiribati
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development