ILLEGAL fishing is a global issue which poses eminent threats to countries in terms of sustainability and economic viability, says Fisheries and Forests permanent secretary Inoke Wainiqolo.
He made the comment while speaking at the ACP and regional workshop on port state measures in co-operation with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries held in Nadi.
Mr Wainiqolo said illegal and unreported fishing posed a direct threat to effective conservation and management of fish stocks.
"In any given country, ports are designed points of entry in which countries practise their sovereignty to ensure compliance to national, regional and international requirements aimed at combating illegal fishing," he said.
"This signifies that the port state measure is one of the monitoring control and surveillance tools that can help combat this growing threat. Port state measures are requirements established or interventions undertaken by port states with which foreign fishing vessels must comply as a condition for the use of their ports.
"Not all vessels can be boarded and inspected out at sea but all vessels must come to port at one point in time, thus the need to strengthen port state measures within individual states and in the region as a whole."
Mr Wainiqolo said the main objective of the workshop was to support the work of the Forum Fisheries Agency and other regional organisations in relation to port measures.
"Regional co-operation in fisheries between Forum Fisheries Agency members has led to the achievement of significant management and development gains which would not have been achieved by countries working alone."
The five-day workshop ends today.