THE management of aquatic ecosystems are challenged by several factors like discharge of effluent, reclamation of coastal area for infrastructure developments, land degradation run off, impacts of climate change together with the most common being the Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing carried out by fishermen from coastal, territorial, exclusive economic zones (EEZ) to the high seas.
Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing has become a serious concern in world including Fijis fisheries as it undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks whether it is in the coastal fisheries or oceanic fisheries.
This was the comment made by permanent secretary for Fisheries and Forests, Inoke Wainiqolo while speaking at the opening of the 3rd African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Fisheries meeting in Nadi on Saturday.
Mr Wainiqolo said IUU fishing had been in many countries for many years and continued to be a concern for governments.
If the trend is left to continue, it can lead to total collapse of fishery, loss of socio-economic opportunities and seriously affect food security and will only benefit those involved in money laundering, said Mr Wainiqolo.
He said existing international policy instruments on addressing IUU fishing had not been effective because of the lack of political will, capacity and resources to implement these policy measures.
However, Mr Wainiqolo said at a more national level, Fiji was adopting policies that would help combat IUU fishing.
In 2007, Fiji was fortunate to have been assisted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation regional office in Apia, Samoa for technical assistance for the development of our National Plan of Action (NPOA) on IUU fishing.
Mr Wainiqolo said the NPOA was based on the provisions of the International Plan of Action on IUU fishing.
The NPOA on IUU fishing was adopted by the Fiji Cabinet in 2009 and implemented by the department from 2010, he said.
The first day of the 3rd ACP Fisheries meeting at the Sofitel Resort and Spa involved discussions related to the regional management of fish stocks.
The delegates were also briefed on the World Bank Global Strategy for fisheries, Fisheries Partnership Agreements and Aquaculture developments in member countries.