Vuna Road, Sopu
Tongatapu, Tonga

Press Release


NZAID-funded Project Achieves Enhanced Governance, Management, and Sustainability in Tonga's Demersal Line Fishery

Nuku’alofa, Tonga – June 2, 2023 – The Ministry of Fisheries, in collaboration with the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), South Pacific Commission (SPC), Tonga National Fisheries Council (NFC) and financially supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), successfully concluded the Project "Improved Governance, Management, and Economic and Biological Sustainability of the Demersal Line Fishery in Tonga" on May 31 – June 1, 2023. The project, which commenced in 2015, aimed to enhance the governance, management, and economic and biological sustainability of the demersal line fishery in Tonga.


(Dr. Brad Moore, Project Coordinator, NIWA) 

The last meeting of the Project Management Group (PMG) was held on the 31st May, presided by Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi, CEO for the Ministry of Fisheries and the meeting with stakeholders was held on the 1st June, 2023. The purpose of the two meetings was to evaluate the progress and achievements made thus far in the project. The meeting agenda included a comprehensive update on various project components, such as the project status and updates provided by Brad Moore from NIWA, recent deepwater finfish landings and exports by the Ministry of Fisheries Team, R training and R script development update by Andy McKenzie, fishery characterisation and stock assessment reports presented by Andy McKenzie from NIWA, and fishery diversification training update delivered by William Sokimi from SPC.


(Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi, CEO for Ministry of Fisheries)

Despite the challenges faced during the implementation of the project, the goal and the objectives of the project were successfully achieved. Some of the highlights and achievements are given below: 

  • Review the management plan of the deepwater snapper fishery
  • Development of new fishery – squid fishery through the diversification program
  • Development of mini-longline fisheries
  • Development of bait fishery
  • Capacity development for fisheries staff – R-language for data analysis and otolith ageing
  • Providing fishing gears to deepwater snapper fishermen
  • Empowerment of women with fish processing equipment
  • And others


(Project Management Group Team)

The final session of the Project Management Group meeting was dedicated to engaging the wider Deepwater Snapper Stakeholders Group. This interaction aimed to provide them with an overview of the project's progress and achievements while offering an opportunity for their valuable input. To ensure inclusivity, the discussions were primarily conducted in the Tongan language to accommodate non-English speakers.


(Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi, Brad Moore)

The successful conclusion of the project was commemorated with a ceremonial gift exchange between the Ministry of Fisheries team, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and the representative from the New Zealand High Commission's Office. This gesture symbolizes the strong collaboration and partnership that contributed to the project's accomplishments.

The "Improved Governance, Management, and Economic and Biological Sustainability of the Demersal Line Fishery in Tonga" project marks a significant milestone in enhancing the sustainable management of Tonga's demersal line fishery. Through the dedicated efforts of all involved parties, the project has made substantial progress in improving governance practices, promoting economic growth, and ensuring the long-term biological sustainability of the fishery.

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