ReefBase Pacific aims to improve quality and accessibility of data and information
on reef-associated livelihoods, fisheries and biodiversity to support management,
research and education. In the past, ReefBase global systems have managed and served
information that predominantly relates to the location, status, and monitoring of
coral reefs. ReefBase Pacific builds upon this foundation, by extending ReefBase
systems to encompass a much broader range of information that supports a more holistic
view of the people-reef dynamic.
The critical components of the dynamic relationship between people and reefs can
be captured within four spheres: ‘People and Livelihoods’; ‘Natural Systems’; ‘Institutions
and Governance’; and ‘External Threats and Opportunities’, as depicted below. These
sectors have often, in the past, been considered in isolation. However, there is
a growing awareness amongst researchers, managers and policy makers that effective
and sustainable management of people-reef systems requires knowledge and active
consideration of the components within all spheres, as well as interactions between
The 'sphere search' in the ReefBase Pacific Database allows you to locate information
that falls within the categories of ‘Natural Systems’, ‘People and Livelihoods’,
‘Institutions and Governance’ or ‘External Threats and Opportunities’. Information
that considers the links between these spheres can be located by selecting more
than one sphere.
A comprehensive overview of the status, issues and future of the management of the
people and reef systems in the Pacific is provided below (see pages 1-5 for overview).
ReefBase Pacific Country Profiles present key statistics that summarise demographics,
socio-economic condition and the land and reef resource base of individual Pacific
Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). The maps below provide a regional-scale
comparative overview of some of these variables: total population (Figure 1), land
area (Figure 2), population density (Figure 3), gross domestic product (Figure 4),
reef area (Figure 5) and projections to 2030 of the potential for coastal fisheries
to meet national food security needs (Figure 6). Underlying statistics are best
available estimates of national averages, which are presented and referenced within
the Country Profiles (locate via menu on left). Values are presented as colour-coded
Economic Exclusive Zones. Other geographic data are presented in Pacific ReefGIS
Figure 1 - Total Population
Populations of PICTs range from approximately 50 people in Pitcairn Island to around
6 million in Papua New Guinea, which accounts for 65% of the total population of
the region. Of the 22 PICTs considered here, 19 have a population of less than 200
Figure 2 - Total Land Area (km²)
15 PICTS have a total land area of less than 1 000 km². Many PICTS are comprised
of hundreds of small islands (e.g. Solomon Islands consists of around 800 small
islands) and the total land area of all PICTs is 541 000 km² (of which Papua New
Guinea accounts for circa 83%). This land area may be compared with those countries
of Pacific rim, such as Australia (7 686 850 km²), Japan (377 835 km²), USA (9 826
630 km²) and New Zealand (268 680 km²).
Figure 3 - Population Density (people per km²)
Six PICTs have an average national population density of less than 20 people per
km² (e.g. comparable to Australia and New Zealand), six have between 20 and 100
people per km² (e.g. comparable to USA), six have between 100 and 300 people per
km² (e.g. comparable to Indonesia and Philippines) and four PICTS have a population
density of over 300 people per km² (e.g. comparable to Japan and South Korea). Certain
islands and urban centers within many PICTS have population densities much higher
than the national average.
Figure 4 - Gross Domestic Product per Capita (purchasing power parity)
Of the PICTs considered here, Kiribati has the lowest reported GDP per capita (approximately
800 dollars) and Guam has the highest reported GDP per capita (approximately 21
000 dollars). Estimated GDP per capita falls below 3 000 dollars in ten PICTs; this
places the nations within the same range internationally as countries such as Sudan,
Armenia, El Salvador and Morocco.
Figure 5 - Reef Area (km²)
Reefs are a critical habitat supporting coastal fisheries and providing food to
the people of the Pacific. The reef area available to a country may be related to
the potential coastal fisheries resources available for harvesting (see Figure 6),
although reef health, productivity and biodiversity are also important factors influencing
resource availability. New Caledonia, Federated States of Micronesia and Tonga have
the highest reef areas (> 5000 km²), while Nauru, Niue and Pitcairn Islands have
the lowest reef areas of the PICTS (< 40 km²).
Figure 6 - Projection to 2030 of coastal fisheries potential to meet national
food security needs.
On the basis of recommended or current levels of fish consumption, and estimates
of coastal fisheries production, the coastal fisheries in 11 of 22 PICTs are projected
to be unable to supply the fish needed for food security in 2030. In addition, five
PICTs may face problems in redistributing coastal fisheries production to meet nutritional
Source: Bell, J. D., M. Kronen, A. Vunisea, W.J. Nash, G, Keeble, A. Demmke, S.
Pontifex, S. Andrefouet. 2008. Planning the use of fish for food security in the
Pacific. Marine Policy, doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2008.04.002.