The instrument that creates the Cooperation Platform for the Promotion of Sustainable Fishing and the Prevention, Combat and Elimination of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing was signed during an extraordinary meeting of the ministers of Sea Affairs of the Member States of the Community of Portuguese Language (CPLP), which took place this Wednesday at the organization's headquarters in Lisbon.
"Illegal, unreported and unregulated [IUU] fishing remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems, due to its potent ability to undermine national and regional efforts to sustainably manage fisheries, as well as efforts to conserve marine biodiversity", said the Minister of the Sea of Angola, the country that currently presides over the CPLP, at the opening of the meeting.
According to António Francisco de Assis, IUU fisheries cover all types and dimensions of fisheries, both on the high seas and in areas of national jurisdiction, and may be associated with organized crime.
"Fishing resources available to bona fide fishermen are removed" by IUU fishing, which can lead to the collapse of local fisheries and the products of this illegal activity can reach different markets through foreign trade, thus strangling the local supply of fish. food, which "threatens livelihoods, raises poverty rates and contributes to food and nutritional insecurity" in CPLP countries, said the Angolan minister
Present at the ceremony, the deputy director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Maria Helena Semedo said that currently "about 35 percent of the world's catches come from illegal fishing."
"Look at what this can represent in terms of wealth and in terms of a contribution to food security," she pointed out.
According to Semedo, Portuguese-speaking countries, despite representing 3.7 percent of the world's population, have around 6.5 percent of the exclusive economic area, which is almost twice as much.
"This shows the importance of the oceans or the sea for the CPLP", he pointed out, defending that the instrument created today "will allow a more sustainable management of these resources, will allow a more effective management, will allow the exchange of information and will also help in implementing the latest decision of the World Trade Organization".
The organization approved, on June 17, in Geneva, an agreement that provides a global framework that limits subsidies to IUU fishing, estimated at 22 billion dollars and considered the biggest factor in the reduction of global fish populations.
Recalling that fish consumption increased from six kilos 'per capita' per year in 1960 to 20 kilos now, the FAO official stressed the importance of fisheries for food security, but also the economic and social role that fisheries represent.
Regarding the agreement signed, Semedo said that it was "a great advance for the CPLP", which "will bring more growth" to the Member States, and defended that now it is necessary to move on to its implementation, expressing FAO's availability to continue collaborate with the Lusophone organization.
The executive secretary of the CPLP, Zacarias da Costa, classified the agreement as "good news" for the CPLP and underlined that the fact that the agreement was reached in just eight months "is a demonstration of the interest that the topic has aroused in the Member States of the organization".
Also this Wednesday, the CPLP, FAO and the Pew Charitable Trusts (PEW) organized a conference on "Solutions and Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Fisheries and Strengthen the Implementation of International Instruments to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing", as a side event of the United Nations Ocean Conference.
In an intervention on Tuesday, at the Ocean Conference taking place in Lisbon, the director-general of the World Trade Organization appealed to Governments to formalize adherence to the agreement to eliminate subsidies to IUU fishing, approved this month, classifying it as "a big step forward in protecting the oceans".
"The new agreement on fisheries subsidies, finally concluded after 21 years [of negotiations] is a huge step forward in protecting the oceans," said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was speaking at a debate at the Oceans Conference of United Nations, taking place in Lisbon.