APEC seeks balanced marine resources
The joint meeting of the Fisheries Working Group and the Marine Resource Conservation Working Group is attended by 15 of 21 APEC member countries, represented by 63 delegates, an independent assessor and four expert speakers, including NGOs.
The fisheries working group lead shepherd, Gellwynn Jusuf, also the Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry secretary-general, said maximizing sustainable fisheries required better management and conservation of the production source.
“Marine conservation management could only be achieved with the support of the fishing industry fisheries management. This is the core reason we have been tasked with addressing how we can move toward a healthy ocean,” he said.
He said another pressing issue was the declining ability of marine ecosystems to support human protein needs, coupled with increasingly vulnerable marine ecosystems, and global issues such as climate change and reducing food reserve availability.
APEC countries have common interests in addressing the issue. With a total population of more than 2.6 billion, APEC has become a huge potential market. The consumption of global fish products in APEC economies has reached 70 percent, which comes from both capture and aquaculture productions.
“These numbers look promising as we are trying to use our resources sustainably for the benefit of the people. However, we are also facing a major threat of ecosystem degradation, which in return will jeopardize the sustainability of our oceans and coastal resources,” said Endhay Kusnendar, head of the ministry’s Research and Development Agency.
APEC Ocean-Related Ministers met in Paracas, Peru, in 2010 and endorsed the Paracas Declaration. The Declaration links with the Bali Plan of Action, adopted in 2005.
Delegates will discuss the two working groups’ future as a collective commitment toward achieving healthy oceans and coasts for sustainable growth and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific community.
The working groups seek to improve management of fisheries and aquaculture both in enhancing the economic value of fisheries products and support the communities’ sustainability and source of livelihoods, with the long-term goal of conservation and sustainable use and alternative livelihoods.
“We need to develop effective, practical and holistic steps to realize the full economic potential of our fisheries resources for our communities and economies,” Endhay said.
Institutional and human capacity building and technical assistance is also needed at all stages of the production and distribution chain to ensure that our economies can share the benefits of our ocean resources, he added.