Introducing size limits for fish is the focus of a new campaign in Fiji which targets consumers and fishermen alike.
The ‘Set Size’ campaign, launched this week by the Ministry of Fisheries, aims to stop the decline of inshore fisheries by encouraging people to avoid catching, selling, buying or consuming undersize fish.
A broad coalition of partners will be working with the ministry to create awareness among Fijians about the sizes fish need to reach to ensure they are breeding and replenishing fish stocks year on year.
Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau said Fiji fishermen were having to go further and further out to sea each year to catch enough fish to feed their families and earn a small income.
He said this was a failing business model and the ‘Set Size’ campaign aimed to help reverse that trend.
Mr Koroilavesau said the campaign was asking everyone to pledge not to buy, sell or eat any fish that are undersized, so that the fish stock is given the chance to replenish itself.
The initial outreach will focus on compliance, but the Fisheries Ministry is also building up its enforcement capacity to ensure undersize fish are no longer found at fish markets.
The ‘Set Size’ campaign was designed as the next step for the 4FJ campaign, which focused on grouper, which are some of the most vulnerable fish in Fiji, said Scott Radway, founder of cChange, the non-governmental organization that designed both 4FJ and Set Size to support the Ministry of Fisheries.
More than 10,000 people in Fiji have pledged not to eat threatened grouper species during their peak spawning months, through the 4FJ campaign.
“The 4FJ campaign aimed to help kawakawa and donu recover. The Set Size campaign is designed to help the rest of the fish recover,” Mr Radway said.