Quick, dramatic actions needed to safeguard Pacific fisheries: Koroilavesau

Fiji Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau at the workshop opening. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE impacts of climate change will continue to be felt in our communities, thus the need for decisions to tackle the problem while considering the local context and people’s needs.

Fiji’s Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau made this comment while officiating at the opening of the Pacific Fisheries and Green Climate Fund workshop in Nadi today.

The two-day workshop at the Tanoa International Hotel aims to bridge the knowledge gap on Green Climate Fund (GCF) processes for fisheries officials in the Pacific, enhance awareness of the vulnerability of the fisheries and aquaculture sector to climate change impacts, as well as help countries identify opportunities for technical support as well as avenues for financial support in order to respond to the impacts of climate change in fisheries and aquaculture in the region.

Mr Koroilavesau commended the FAO for its initiative to bring fisheries into the climate finance agenda for the first time and said he hoped there would be many more.

“This is something that the region needs. For too long, the fisheries sector has sat in the periphery of dialogues and projects developed under various climate change mechanisms,” he said.

He said there needed to be quick and dramatic actions to address climate change to safeguard Pacific fisheries.

“The reality is that it should be at the heart, given that throughout the region our very lives depend on fisheries and it resources. After all, we, the people of the Pacific, are large ocean states and the role of fisheries in our lives is unquestionable.”

Mr Koroilavesau cited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that the world is headed for painful problems sooner than expected as emissions keep rising.

He said just as it was felt in every continent, climate change would continue to affect communities in the region.

“This prompts for quick, dramatic actions from governments, private sector, line agencies and our communities.”

He urged stakeholders to persevere and be persistent in their quest to seek tangible outcomes.

“Use the pool of experts that are amongst you to identify ideas and concepts that will lead to concrete program or program development under the Green Climate Fund.

“To the pool of experts, be reminded that the Pacific is not a one size fits all. Use this opportunity to grasp insight knowledge from fisheries officials on the challenges that exist within national administrations.”

Mr Koroilavesau said by identifying current changes, project and programs funded under the Green Climate Fund would be successful.