The Research Unit is one of the units under the Fisheries Division that deals with all research activities in order to provide data on status of marine resource for the formulation of management measures. The unit is manned by five staffs including Senior Fisheries Officer (SFO), Fisheries Officer (FO), Senior Fisheries Assistant (SFA), Fisheries Assistant (FA), and a Handyman (HM) in which all the activities are coordinated by the SFO.
The main objective for the unit:
- Provide data on current status of marine resources in order to formulate management plans for resources that are depleted or declined
- Provide technical supports and assistance to the communities that are planning to formulate their management plan for their marine resources
- Work in collaborate with other authorities such as Environmental Health, Environment and Conservation Division, Medical Lab, MPWU on monitoring of water (marine) quality and testing level of e.coli for shellfish.
- Disseminate information and promote awareness on ciguatera findings including sites, species, etc
- Establish locally managed areas for the long term conservation and management of marine resources
- Enhance food security through stock enhancement activities (‘te bun’ translocation)
Work focus:The Research Unit mainly deals with fisheries surveys and monitoring activities that could provide data on status of marine environment and its resources in which such data could be used as an important tool for decision makers in formulating their management plans for the conservation and management of marine resources.
- Conducting creel survey for South Tarawa fishermen targeting reef fishers on a weekly basis
- Monitoring of water (marine) quality and shellfish (e.coli testing) for South Tarawa on a monthly basis
- Ciguatera monitoring for south Tarawa
- Demarcation for Nanikaai andTeaoraereke Marine Protected Area
- Coral reef ecosystem survey
- Monitoring of existing marine protected area in collaboration with Community Based Fisheries Management
New focus for the four year plan:
1. Capacity Building
- there is a need to certify more staffs especially staffs that have no certificate in diving so that surveys which require SCUBA dive could be easily done. This is due to staff turnover as some staffs with good experience on such surveys will be retiring soon therefore new staffs/recruits should be trained.
- in relate with training on Underwater Visual Census i.e counts of finfish underwater, this require more time for staffs to undergone the surveys to become experienced on identifying fish species (using scientific names), therefore training also required on this so that quality data produced.
- Data analysis is also an issue therefore training of research staffs also required on this area.