Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), recently went on record about the importance of completing by year-end the WTO negotiations for the elimination of fisheries subsidies that contribute to illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, overfishing and the overcapacity of fishing fleets and infrastructures. I could not agree with him more.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), 33% of the world’s fish populations are overfished, 60% are being fished to their sustainable limit, and there is a margin for growth in catches of only 7% of the entire world’s fish populations (the so-called “underfished stocks”). And fisheries subsidies are considered to be the main driver of overfishing. For example, economists have shown that some fisheries in the high seas (the area beyond the 200-mile national jurisdiction) simply would not be economically feasible in the absence of government support, given the high fuel costs for long distance travel.
The Bonn Climate Change Conference was expected to advance work on several issues to facilitate implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, due for completion at the Santiago Climate Change Conference in December 2019. Delegates made progress on a number of issues, including:
Fisheries ministers from around the Pacific have endorsed a new strategy for a safer more robust regional tuna fishery.
Mitigating and adapting to the impacts of the climate crisis, stopping modern slavery on fishing vessels and improving management of the longline fishery were some of the major talking points, at the Forum Fisheries Agency meeting, in Pohnpei last week.
One of Fiji's largest passenger vessel fleets providing inter-island services within Fiji has been grounded due to Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) assertions the fleet is in violation of the Maritime (Safe Ships Management System) Regulations 2014. George Goundar is currently claiming this action is a result of politically motivated decision-making. Further details on the range of violations being alleged by MSAF are now awaited.