Wednesday, June 9, 2010


London, Tuesday 8th June, On World Oceans Day 40 senior Members of Parliament from 15 key fishing nations and regions, including Japan, US, Europe, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil agreed a Global Marine Recovery Strategy on world fisheries intended to reverse the decline of global fisheries. The legislators were advised by the world’s leading scientific and policy experts who presented a bleak outlook for fishery stocks if immediate political action was not taken.

The meeting was organised by the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment, (GLOBE) to challenge the current international political failure to address the rapid decline of global fisheries stocks. The legislators each pledged to advance the Strategy through their respective parliaments and participants included the former UK Biodiversity Minister, Barry Gardiner MP, the Chair of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, Patrao Neves Maria MEP, the Vice President of the Brazilian Senate, Senadora Serys Slhessarenko, the Deputy Speaker of the Indonesian Upper House, Representative Laode Ida, the Chairman of the South African National Assembly Committee on Fisheries, Mlungisi Johnson. The Chair of the United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, Senator Maria Cantwell and Committee Member Senator Daniel Inouye both submitted addresses to the meeting and offered their support for the Strategy.

The GLOBE Fisheries Commission Chairman and former UK Biodiversity Minister, Barry Gardiner MP, said, “Due to the failure of existing international political processes to address the collapse of global fisheries, GLOBE, has convened legislators from the world’s major fishing nations and those countries most affected by current policies.

“The science is clear we must act now and we must act decisively and today as parliamentarians from fishing nations we have agreed a package of far reaching measures. We begin today to advance this strategy through our parliaments and into our governments. Ultimately, this Strategy offers a sustainable future for those that depend on fisheries for their livelihoods, be it for food or employment. If we do not act we will see the collapse of fish stocks over a very short period of time.”

‘Since the industrialisation of fishing in 1950s, global fish stocks have been dramatically decreasing. Thirty percent of fish stocks have already collapsed, with other high profile species, such as the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna rapidly approaching extinction in whole areas of our oceans. As the oceans are a global common good, it is essential that there is a coordinated response by the world’s key fishing nations to restore the marine environment to a healthy and productive state.”

The Strategy set out the following Priority Actions:

Parliamentary Legislation
• Ratify and adopt robust implementing legislation for all existing UN and FAO international fishery agreements.
• Redirect inappropriate fishing subsidies into programmes that improve fisheries management.
• Implement flexible rights-based management schemes for both coastal and high seas fisheries.
• Prevent fisheries authorities from setting catch limits above scientific recommendations.
• Involve the fishing industry in data collection and co-management of fisheries.
• Mandate environmental impact and stock assessments for all commercially fished species.
• Integrate fisheries and environment policy within government.
• Provide economic incentives for industry initiatives to source legal and sustainable fish.
• Introduce legislation to ban the import and domestic trade of illegally-caught fish (e.g. US Lacey Act).
• Implement a ‘Cap and Restore’ approach for all severely depleted fisheries.
• Adopt modern MPA network targets to propel domestic implementation of MPAs that link in to national and regional networks, alongside comprehensive fisheries management outside of protected areas.

Regional Cooperation

RFMO Members
• Review and reform of RFMO conventions to promote sustainable, ecosystem-based management of marine biotic resources.
• Construct new RFMOs or expand existing RFMOs to manage species and areas currently unmanaged.
• Implement UNFSA requirements for a precautionary, ecosystem-based approach.
• Agree new RFMO rules that prevent decision-making bodies from setting catch limits above scientific recommendations.
• Incentivise RFMO membership by linking it to capacity-building assistance, and agree economic sanctions against non-compliant states.
• Establish RFMO mandates for all flag states to ensure their vessels carry tamper proof monitoring and surveillance equipment.

Coastal and Port States
• Increase and harmonise sanctions against illegal fishing and transhipment vessels across coastal and port states in key regions.
• Establish regional agreements for sharing data on fishing activities and resources for monitoring and enforcement, especially in developing country coastal and port states.
International Actions
New Agreements
• Mandate the UN to review and monitor RFMO performance based on existing benchmark standards for RFMOs in the UNFSA.
• Support the development of a multilateral and enforceable agreement on fishing subsidy reform within the World Trade Organisation.
• Require all fishing and reefer vessels to carry unique identification, such as IMO numbers.
• Hold non-compliant states accountable using the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.
• Adopt modern MPA network targets to propel the creation of marine reserves and networks globally.
• Investigate a new Global Framework Agreement for Marine Spatial Planning in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
New Multilateral Institutions
• Continue and increase support for the International Monitoring Control and Surveillance Network, expanding its mandate to conduct and coordinate global high seas fisheries intelligence-gathering.

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