Illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing demands immediate action
2nd March 2006
The global problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing demands immediate action, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton told an international meeting in Paris today.
Addressing the final meeting of the international ministerially-led Task Force on IUU fishing in the High Seas, Mr Anderton endorsed the just-released report of the task force but highlighted the "enormity of the challenges" to come.
"At the moment it is still a lose/lose situation. In the absence of global political resolve and the necessary leadership to sustain it, IUU fishing continues to threaten the sustainability of fish stocks and marine environments," Mr Anderton told the forum.
The High Seas Task Force was created following the Johannesburg World Summit in 2002 at the recommendation of the OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development, chaired by the Rt. Hon. Simon Upton.
Mr Anderton, while endorsing the work of the Task Force and the Round Table initiative that catalysed it, noted that the report called for a multilateral approach to "expose, deter, and enforce".
"Exposing the illegal fishing activity; deterring those who undertake such damaging practices, and importantly, enforcing whatever framework results to ensure compliance - these are the challenges."
Mr Anderton applauded recommendations to expand and enhance the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network and establish a vessel information system. But he warned that while the report had resulted from a coalition of ministers from "like-minded countries", a major challenge would be enlisting the support of those countries not as aware of the issue and not as inclined to address it.
Mr Anderton used New Zealand's recent hosting of last month's international meeting in Wellington which aimed to establish a South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation as an example of filling the existing high seas governance gaps.
"With co-sponsors Chile and Australia, and with New Zealand international legal expert Bill Mansfield as chair, I'm hopeful that a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation in the South Pacific will help address some of these global IUU issues in our own 'back yard'," Mr Anderton said.
He told the forum he hoped that the South Pacific initiative would become a model for other countries to follow.