Supporting sustainable development in the COVID-19 era through fisheries in Asia-Pacific small island developing States

The fisheries sector holds great importance for small island developing States (SIDS) of Asia and the Pacific. For many Governments, fisheries bring much-needed public revenues. Government income from the fisheries sector expanded significantly with the establishment of the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in 1982, providing SIDS with greater opportunity to negotiate and collect fishing access fees. Indeed, license access fees paid by distant-water fishing nations for access to marine resources in the EEZs of SIDS are currently the main source of public revenue for some Governments, constituting, for example, as much as 75 per cent of government revenue in Kiribati. For households, fisheries are vital sources of food and employment; they provide food and income to more than 200 million people in the Asia-Pacific region. The importance of this sector for SIDS is evident considering that their average per capita fish consumption is two to three times higher than the global average. Also, fisheries-related employment in Asia and the Pacific accounts for 84 per cent of the global population engaged in the fisheries and the aquaculture sector.