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Media Center > Press Releases > FIJIAN ENVOY ADDRESSES ACP FISHERIES MINISTERS MEETING

FIJIAN ENVOY ADDRESSES ACP FISHERIES MINISTERS MEETING

9/23/2017
Steps taken by the Fijian Government to maintain a sustainable fisheries sector against a backdrop of growing challenges was highlighted this week at the 5th Meeting of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Fisheries is regarded as the mainstay for food security. The industry is the 3rd largest natural resource based sector within the Fijian economy, and contributes 7.0 per cent of Fiji’s total export earnings. Fiji’s Head of Mission to the European Union based in Brussels, Ambassador Deo Saran, led Fiji's delegation to this meeting where he highlighted the importance of the fisheries sector to Fiji’s socio-economic development.

Speaking at the Ministerial Round Table on exchange of views with key partners for the EU, ADB, World Bank, IFAD and FAO, Ambassador Saran presented Fiji's strategies and initiatives and the many challenges it faces in maintaining a sustainable fisheries sector.

He said that recognising the immense value of the marine environment and the importance of looking after our coastal seas, the ocean and marine resources, the Fijian government adopted a number of fisheries sustainable policies. In this regard it has entered into several international conventions and made commitments to ensure the sustainability of the fisheries sector.

Fiji made a declaration at the meeting of the Small Island Developing States in Mauritius to effectively protect 30% of its seas by 2020. This was the first declaration of its kind in the Pacific and showed Fiji’s leadership in the area of marine conservation and sustainable fisheries development. Fiji renewed this commitment in 2014 at the second 3rd UN SIDS Ocean conference in Samoa.

As Fiji’s Climate Ambassador for the COP23, the ongoing negotiations on climate change, Ambassador Saran told delegates that Fiji intends to draw a strong link between the health of oceans and climate change when it assumes the presidency of COP23 in November this year. He added that Fiji would highlight the role of oceans in existing climate change negotiations and the Action Agenda and build support for a more integrated programme of work to address the impact of climate change to oceans and marine life.

In June 2017, Fiji served as co-President of the first United Nations Ocean Conference in New York along with the Government of Sweden. Fiji also made 17 voluntary commitments at this year’s Conference that will serve as drivers for sustainable fisheries resource management, through strategic partnership with both Pacific SIDS and national stakeholders and conservation partners.

Ambassador Saran added that these commitments come with great challenges, but at the same time, provide some opportunities for Fiji and the pacific small island states. Having a large marine managed area, will definitely increase the coastal and oceanic fisheries productivities and biomasses which would make them attractive to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities (IUU), therefore heightens the need for effective monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement.

Implementing multiple management tools such as focus management of endangered and vulnerable species, seasonal closures, size limits and allocation of quotas is essential. As small islands economies, we can also pursue this as an opportunity for strengthening aquaculture development and post-harvest or value addition of fisheries products to maximize the return with limited resource used.

In response the ACP Group secretary-general Dr Patrick Gomes commended Fiji for her leadership on climate change and sustainability issues of Small Island Developing States.

Ambassador Saran was supported by the Principal Fisheries Officer at Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries, Mr Shalendra Singh who presented on aquaculture development in Fiji at the senior officials forum.
 
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