O’Neill highlights importance of fisheries sector


PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the fisheries sector is important to countries in the Pacific region because it supports national economies.
Speaking at the Pacific Regional Preparatory High-Level Meeting for the United Nations Conference on Oceans in Suva, Fiji, last week, O’Neill said fisheries created employment opportunities and enabled key infrastructure development.
“It enables our national efforts for sustainable development,” O’Neill said.
“Not only that, but it also has significant cultural and traditional values and heritage associated with certain fish species.
“These intrinsic links cannot be taken for granted.
“This is also why we have prioritised and set regional frameworks such as the Framework for Pacific Oceanscape, the Pacific Regional Fisheries Roadmap and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, which complement our national efforts.
But O’Neill said harmful fisheries subsidies, however, presented serious challenges and impacted the sustainable development efforts.
“Different kinds of subsidies have different kinds of impact on the fish stocks targeted by the subsidised industry,” O’Neill said.
“While we welcome useful subsidies such as those used for management enhancement measures and marine science research, which have positive effect on our ability to sustainably manage fishery resources, we are opposed to harmful subsidies that promote capacity-enhancing, including those for building fishing boats and fuel.”
“These promote inequity for small island developing countries and also serve as disinvestment in the resources by motivating overcapacity and overfishing and undermine fish stock sustainability.
“As many of our countries in the region have limited capacities to effectively foster and undertake national and regional fisheries sustainability measures, fisheries subsidies further compound our efforts.
“These include placing financial and technical burdens on us to deal with difficult fisheries subsides negotiations at the global level.”

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