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By Somalilandtimes network

London, UK, March 03, 2006 – THE fight against illegal fishing moved one step further today as the UK Government announced new funding of about US$1 million to help support an international initiative to deal with pirate fishing activities that cost more than US$9 billion in lost fish stocks globally.

Ben Bradshaw, UK Fisheries Minister and Gareth Thomas, International Development Minister urged the world’s governments to tackle the problem of illegal fishing on the high seas today in Paris at the launch of the High Seas Task Force report.

The report, the product of the collaborative efforts of conservation communities including WWF, ICUN and the Earth Institute and Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Namibia and the United Kingdom, sets out nine initiatives that aim to put rogue fisherman out of business. At the vanguard of the international movement to stop fishing pirates plundering finite fish stocks, damaging the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem and stealing the natural assets of developing countries, the group is seeking more countries and organizations to join their efforts.

Fisheries Minister, Ben Bradshaw said: “It is vitally important that the international community tackles the serious problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. We must have united action to help stop the destruction of fish stocks and marine habitats.

“IUU fishing is one of the main obstacles to achieving sustainable world fisheries. It leads to the serious depletion of the world’s fish stocks and also affects dramatically the economies of developing countries. By working together we can conserve fish and give developing countries a chance to develop their own sustainable fishing industry.”
Gareth Thomas, Minister for International Development said:

“Pirate fishermen are freeloaders who are robbing some of the poorest people in the world of their livelihoods. Countries such as Somalia and Sierra Leone are each losing over US$100 million a year from illegal fishing. That is money that could help fund medical centers, schools, clean water or new jobs. We are here today to turn recommendations into action and help put these criminals out of business for good.

The nine initiatives as set out in the High Seas Task Force report are:

-Committing resources to the International MCS Network to enable it to become a monitoring, control and surveillance network with dedicated resources, analytical capacity, and the ability to provide training and support to developing countries.

-Developing a publicly available database of information relating to the high seas fishing fleet called the High Seas Fishing Vessel Information System.

-Promoting broader participation in the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Compliance Agreement to improve the reach of current governance arrangements.

- Promoting better high seas governance by commissioning an independent high-level panel to develop a model for regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs); promoting independent review of RFMO performance; encouraging RFMOs to work more effectively through better co-ordination; and supporting initiatives to bring all unregulated high seas fisheries under effective governance.

-Adopting guidelines on flag state performance with respect to high seas fishing vessels, based on the obligations set out in international fishery instruments.

-Supporting greater use of port and trade measures by promoting the concept of responsible port states; promoting the FAO Model Port State Scheme as the international minimum standard for regional port state controls; reviewing domestic port state measures to ensure they meet international minimum standards; and strengthening domestic legislation controlling import of IUU products.

-Filling critical gaps in scientific knowledge and assessment through the establishment of a small network of institutions to research and analyze IUU fishing.

-Addressing the needs of developing countries by targeting improvements in MCS and flag state control, addressing broader governance issues in these countries, and accommodating their interests in high seas fisheries.

-Promoting better use of technological solutions by enhancing vessel monitoring system security and promoting better sharing of date within RFMOs.

The report “Spreading the Net” can be obtained through www.high-seas.org or www.illegal-fishing.info
www.fishupdate.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.

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