Global determination to ensure sustainable fisheries

A gathering of the global tuna industry and other stakeholders has heard that a coordinated effort is required to ensure a sustainable fishery that can help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Picture: World Wildlife Fund

BANGKOK, 29 MAY 2018 (FAO) — A gathering of the global tuna industry and other stakeholders has heard that a coordinated effort is required to ensure a sustainable fishery that can help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The 15th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition opened today in the Thai capital, Bangkok. The three day conference covers a wide range of topics on resources, fisheries management, markets and new technologies. It is also focusing on food safety, sustainability and environmental issues.

The global conference was organized and convened today through a number of industry organizations and stakeholders, including Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, the group INFOFISH, and in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and others.

“I am pleased to see that sustainability is a core theme of this year’s programme,” said Jong-Jin Kim, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific during an opening address. “It is clear that sustainable fisheries can be achieved only through common efforts by governments and industry working together and with the collaboration of all stakeholders.”

“Indeed, experience has shown that, through effective regulations, and in combination with science-based fisheries management, it is possible to reverse trends of overfishing, and increase the size and value of major fish stocks,” he added.

The conference heard how the international community had awakened to the importance of sustainable fishing practices in the world’s oceans and that in order to feed a hungry world – one that increasingly demands protein from fish – it was essential to steer the world’s fishing fleets on a true course and not allowing them to drift.

An opportunity to reinforce endorsement of Port State Measures Agreement

Kim underlined the fact that the international community now has at its disposal a number of new and powerful instruments with the potential to drastically reduce and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. These include the  Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Catch Documentation Schemes and the FAO Global Record of Fishing Vessels. In this respect, FAO encourages all countries that have not yet ratified the PSMA agreement, to do so, Kim said.

“FAO is also encouraged to see that this Conference addresses the ‘social sustainability’ of the value-chain. This issue has been neglected for too long – has the importance of gender balance – and it goes beyond the reputational risk of the industry,” said Kim, noting it was also addressed last year by the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade with a mandate to the Secretariat to develop a new guidance document for the fisheries value-chain, similar to what has been done for other food-producing sectors.