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Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) activity is a maritime security challenge that needs to be addressed.
It would not only have a direct impact on Fiji’s blue economy, but also impact the livelihoods of coastal and maritime communities.
These were the statements made by Fiji deputy Secretary for Ministry of Defence, Ilai Moceica, during their submission to the Parliamentarian committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on the Ratification of the Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
Moceica said IUU further worsen impacts of climate change on fisheries resources thus undermining maritime security.
He said the ratification and accession of the agreement and its implementation would contribute to strengthening fisheries management and governance at all levels.
“As a compliance and enforcement tool, Port State measures will have a positive influence on fisheries conservation and management contributing to more accurate and comprehensive data collection and facilitating the more rigorous implementation of international labour, safety and pollution on vessels,” he said.
He also said it would have numerous direct and indirect economic benefits to the country and the region.
“We must also understand that fishing vessels involved in IUU activities are more likely to be involved in other maritime crime like human trafficking, illicit drug trafficking, contraband goods shipment that threatens our maritime domain and its security,” he said.
Moceica also highlighted a report by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), which Fiji is a member of. It states that IUU fishing in the Pacific estimated that from 2010 to 2015, around 306,440 tonnes were harvested illegally, with an estimated cost of US$1.27 billion.
IUU is a national and regional concern that must be addressed collectively by regional and international partners, he said.
SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS
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