Nearshore fisheries in the tropical Pacific play an important role, both culturally and as a reliable source of food security, but often remain under-reported in statistics, leading to undervaluation of their importance to communities. We re-estimated nonpelagic catches for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and summarize previous work for American Samoa for 1950-2002. For all islands combined, catches declined by 77%, contrasting with increasing trends indicated by reported data. For individual island entities, re-estimation suggested declines of 86%, 54%, and 79% for Guam, CNMI, and American Samoa, respectively. Except for Guam, reported data primarily represented commercial catches, and hence under-represented contributions by subsistence and recreational fisheries. Guam's consistent use of creel surveys for data collection resulted in the most reliable reported catches for any of the islands considered. Our re-estimation makes the scale of under-reporting of total catches evident, and provides valuable baselines of likely historic patterns in fisheries catches.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2007|