Participants underscored the importance of improved management and sustainable development of oceans and fisheries at the ‘Our Ocean: Next Steps on Sustainable Fishing and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)' event.
Participants also recognized the importance of ocean resources for the development, livelihoods and food security of small island developing States (SIDS).
25 September 2014: Participants underscored the importance of improved management and sustainable development of oceans and fisheries at the ‘Our Ocean: Next Steps on Sustainable Fishing and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)’ event. Participants also recognized the importance of ocean resources for the development, livelihoods and food security of small island developing States (SIDS).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Director General Jose Graziano da Saliva, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, Mozambique, co-hosted the event as a follow-up to the UN Climate Summit and to capitalize on the presence of world leaders in New York, US, to attend the UN General Assembly (UNGA) General Debate. The event aimed to raise awareness on challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture sector, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, poor management and weak governance and other harmful fishing practices.
Speaking at the event, da Silva highlighted several FAO actions to combat illegal fishing and promote sustainable fisheries, including: launching a Blue Growth Initiative; promoting compliance with the 2009 FAO Port State Measures Agreement and the 2014 FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Flag State Performance; and working to develop a global record of fishing vessels, in coordination with the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Emphasizing, “We have the know-how, we have the opportunity,” da Silva urged protection of the ocean’s fish stocks, which he said support the livelihoods of 10% of the global population.
Kerry reminded participants of the US State Department’s ‘Our Ocean’ conference, which he said focused on three major threats to oceans: overfishing; pollution; and climate change impacts, including ocean acidification. Kerry shared US action on oceans, including working to pass legislation on the Port State Measures Agreement in the US; and protecting the ocean through the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, an area nearly twice the size of Texas that will be closed to commercial fishing and extraction activities such as deep sea mining. Kerry underscored the importance of enforcement in ensuring implementation and results.
The event also coincided with World Maritime Day, which was held under the theme ‘IMO Conventions: effective implementation.’ In his message for the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognized the IMO’s contribution to making global shipping “progressively safer, more secure and more environment-friendly” through more than 50 conventions on safeguarding global seaways. He cautioned that “the real value of those conventions can be fully realized only if they are properly implemented,” underscoring the need for early entry into force, ratification and monitoring and enforcement. [UN Press Release] [FAO Press Release] [Kerry Statement] [UN Press Release on World Maritime Day] [Pacific National Monument Factsheet]