MORE than 100 participants from 22 countries gathered on Saturday for the second Coral Triangle Fishers Forum (CTFF) to address Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing in the region.
The CTFF is an opportunity for fisherfolk to develop practical solutions and gain a common ground in achieving sustainable and equitable fisheries by providing a regular platform for fishers, processors, buyers, government officials, and other stakeholders to gain perspective and learn more about the issues that affect them, said Kesaia Tabunakawai, WWF South Pacific Programme office representative.
The problem of IUU was in fact recommended by participants in the last forum to be the focus this year, she said.
IUU fishing is one of a range of factors putting at risk fish stocks in the Coral Triangle and Pacific region the source of more than 60 per cent of global marine capture production and a critical source of income for millions of fisherfolk.
It is estimated that several million tonnes of fish are taken by IUU fishing each year in the Asia-Pacific, representing a significant portion of the total catch from the Pacific Ocean.
Hosted by WWF and the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests of Fiji, the forum brings together regional stakeholders, especially local fishers and industry representatives, to identify strategies and models for effective partnerships on seafood traceability, reducing IUU fisheries, and achieving long-term sustainability and food security in the seafood sector.
Using practical examples of new and effective traceability approaches such as catch documentation systems, solution models, and other innovative ideas will be identified and discussed.
The solutions, innovative ideas, and consensus recommendations developed at the CTFF can then be brought to national governments and regional fisheries management bodies, whose decisions have a direct impact on the long-term sustainability of fisheries in the region and the people that depend on them, Ms said.