Growth of sustainable fishing important

From POST COURIER/PACNEWS

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Fri 14 Feb 2014

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia ---Development of Sustainable Tuna fisheries in the Pacific is vital if the tuna market is to be maintained in the region.

Head of European Commission’s Office to the OCT’s in the Pacific, Efstratios Pegidis said the importance of tuna fisheries resources for the Pacific Islands’ is well known.

“Tuna fisheries provide a vital source of food, employment, recreation, trade and economic well-being for people throughout the Pacific. Therefore, every effort should be made to ensure that fisheries activities are conducted in a responsible manner, in order to allow present and future generations to benefit from its exploitation.

Pegidis said this during his opening remarks at the launch of the Tunanomics Pacific Media Initiative, in partnership with SPC and PINA and with funding from the EU and Japan Government.

He said such occasions were an important opportunity to re-affirm the European Unions’ support in the conservation, management and sustainable development of the fisheries’ sector in Pacific Island countries, who all share the same tuna fisheries resources.

“The European Union is contributing to the organisation of this workshop through the “Development of Sustainable Tuna Fisheries in the Pacific ACP countries Phase II Project”, better known by its acronym DEVFISH2, which is an EU 10th EDF funded project implemented together by the FFA and SPC.

Pegidis said the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) supports the largest tuna fishery in the world. “The value of the fishery has been estimated at the tune of more than $US4 billion .

Pacific tuna stocks are still considered one of the world’s healthiest tuna stocks and are still abundant compared to other regions in the world. “However, we must be vigilant. Catches in the WCPO in 2012 have been the highest on record and the number of vessels has largely increased during the last decade. Tuna stocks are natural and renewable resources, but this does not mean that they are inexhaustible.

Therefore, it is everybody’s responsibility to take all necessary measures to avoid overfishing and Pacific tuna stocks to become overfished, as well as to ensure that Pacific people will be able to get the maximum benefit out of it, while ensuring its sustainable exploitation.

He said the involvement of the EU in Pacific fisheries projects and programs has been remarkable. The EU is currently contributing approximately 20 million euros, under the 10th European Development Fund, for the sustainable management of the region’s fisheries through 2 regional projects and one all-ACP program, namely: 1. the former mentioned DEVFISH2 project implemented by both FFA and SPC; 2. the “Scientific Support for the Management of Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries” Project, more commonly known as SCICOFISH, being implemented by the SPC. 3. the Program entitled “Strengthening Fisheries Management in ACP Countries, better known ACP Fish II. This program will close its activities in 2014.


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