Indonesia fights against illegal fishing in the Coral Triangle



Posted on 03 December 2009  | 
Indonesian ports will soon be closed to pirate fishing vessels after the nation signed the world’s first legally-binding international treaty to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Indonesia, along with 10 other members of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) signed the treaty immediately following its approval by the FAO governing conference in Rome last week.

“WWF welcomes this significant move by the Indonesian government to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which damages economies, the health of oceans, and  the livelihoods of millions of people in the Coral Triangle,” said Dr. Lida Pet-Soede, Head of the WWF Coral Triangle Programme.

“As trade regulations worldwide call for better-managed fisheries, this treaty opens the door for the fishing industry to address the growing demand for sustainable fisheries products, which is a major tenet of the upcoming Coral Triangle Initiative Business Summit in Manila in January 2010.”

The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is set to enter into force once 25 countries have ratified it.

By signing on to the treaty, governments commit themselves to take steps to guard their ports against vessels engaged in IUU fishing, thus preventing illegally-sourced fish from entering international markets.

IUU fishing activities include operating without proper authorization, catching protected species, using banned fishing gear, and disregarding catch quotas.

Port state measures are considered more efficient ways of combating IUU fishing than tackling the issue at sea, which can be difficult to implement and expensive for developing countries, given the vast ocean areas that need to be policed and the costly technology required.

“As more and more countries tighten the noose around IUU fishing, we can only hope for better-managed fisheries, improved fish stocks, and more access to sustainable seafood products in the years to come,” added Dr. Lida Pet-Soede.

The Coral Triangle Initiative Business Summit in January will bring together fishing, tourism and other private enterprises with government policy advisors and non-government organizations to discuss ways of reducing the impact of commercial activity in the region known as the Nursery of the Seas.

Covering just one per cent of the earth’s surface, the Coral Triangle includes 30 per cent of the world’s coral reefs, 76 per cent of its reef building coral species and more than 35 per cent of its coral reef fish species as well as vital spawning grounds for other economically important fish such as tuna.  It sustains the lives of more than 100 million people.


Notes to the Editor:
  • The Coral Triangle-the nursery of the seas-is the most diverse marine region on the planet, matched in its importance to life on Earth only by the Amazon rainforest and the Congo basin. Defined by marine areas containing more than 500 species of reef-building coral, it covers around 6 million square kilometres of ocean across six countries in the Indo-Pacific - Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
     
  • It is home to 3,000 species of reef fish and commercially-valuable species such as tuna, whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, and 6 of the 7 known species of marine turtles.
     
  • The Coral Triangle also directly sustains the lives of more than 120 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna, while healthy reef and coastal systems underpin a growing tourism sector. WWF is working with other NGOs, multilateral agencies and governments around the world to support conservation efforts in the Coral Triangle for the benefit of all.
     
  • For information on Coral Triangle go to: www.panda.org/coraltriangle
     
  • For information on the Coral Triangle Initiative Business Summit go to: www.ctibusinesssummit.net

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