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Common oceans are marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) that are not governed by any single nation. Instead, all nations are jointly responsible for sustainably managing those areas. ABNJ, also known as common oceans, include the high seas and the seabed’s beyond the extended continental shelf of coastal states - areas which are difficult to monitor, challenging to manage and easy to over-exploit.

Unfortunately, common oceans face a variety of threats including illegal fishing, pollution and unsustainable fishing and shipping practices. These activities are damaging diverse and valuable ecosystems that provide important ecosystem services, essential food and vital livelihoods for people around the world. Millions of families in both developed and developing countries depend on income generated from fishing and its associated activities. 150 000 MT of deep-sea species of fish are caught every year, and up to 50 different deep-sea species are caught in common oceans alone.

Building on the need to achieve sustainable management of fisheries and biodiversity conservation in common oceans, FAO developed the Common Oceans ABNJ Programme with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Programme, comprised of four individual projects, is an innovative, unique and comprehensive initiative working in close collaboration with two other GEF agencies, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. Focusing on tuna and deep-sea fisheries, the four projects bring together some 65 partners including governments, regional management bodies, civil society, the private sector, academia and industry to work towards ensuring the sustainable use and conservation of ABNJ biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Source: FAO, 2 July 2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:46

APEC economies committed to the ocean- IUU Fishing

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In June, experts and decision makers from around the world gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to focus on the commitment made by nations in 2015 to protect the health of the ocean.

Voluntary agreements have been pledged across the spectrum, from industries to NGOs, in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 “Life Below Water”.
The Global Oceans Program (GOP) of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) representative, said Illegal 

Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is diverting the commitment to reach the SDG 14 by 2020. In her presentation on IUU to the APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) said to reach the SDG 14, a combined effort is required by all groups and agencies involved in the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of its oceans.

She further said that TNC is working in unison with respective authorities and international bodies at the national, regional and global to help combat IUU fishing.

In the Pacific Islands, IUU fishing has cost US$660 million annually in loss of revenue from ocean resources.


Source: APEC, 7 August, 2018

Argentina and Spain have signed a fisheries and aquaculture bilateral cooperation Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU was stamped in Buenos Aires during the recent G20 Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries ministerial meeting by Argentina's Luis Miguel Etchevehere and Spain's Luis Planas.

The MoU establishes a framework of cooperation to reinforce the bases for an improved maritime sector potential exploitation and ensure conservation and a sustainable management of straddling species.

It will also coordinate efforts to combat illegal, undeclared, unreported fishing and collaboration in scientific research in the area adjacent to Argentina's Exclusive Economic Zone. Cooperation will also be extensive to technological exchange on production and marketing, with training and formation programs.

The two countries will exchange information on fisheries, scientific knowledge in fisheries research and related activities. Argentina and Spain will share information and technology in the fields of catches, aquaculture breeding, transformation, distribution and related activities, are some of the outstanding points of the MoU.

Source: MercoPress, 1 August 2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:44

Untouched ocean habitats shrinking rapidly, study says

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Shipping, pollution and overfishing have reduced areas of “wilderness” to just 13 % of the world’s oceans, a study, warning that untouched marine habitats could completely vanish within half a century. International researchers analyzing the impact of human activity on underwater ecosystems — from fertilizer runoff to increased sea transport — have mapped the dwindling zones considered pristine.

The bulk of remaining ocean wilderness, classed as “mostly free of human disturbance,” was found in the Arctic and Antarctic, and around remote Pacific islands.

Just 5 % of the wilderness areas are in protected zones, leaving the rest vulnerable, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology. It called for greater international coordination to regulate the world’s oceans, clamp down on overfishing, limit destructive ocean-mining and reduce sediment runoff.

Last year, the United Nations began negotiating its first conservation treaty for the high seas, which would be a legally binding act governing the sustainable use of oceans outside national maritime boundaries.

Source: AFP, 27 July 2018

 

The European Commission reported that FVO auditors had discovered that certain tuna freezer vessels used tanks destined for freezing and storing tuna fish which were also used as a reservoir for diesel. Once the diesel is used for the engine, the tanks are filled with brine and fishery products that may be exported to the EU. The Commission has informed all countries exporting fishery products of the unacceptability of this practice and requested to stop it immediately. The attention of the EU Member States involved in tuna fisheries was also drawn to this issue.

Source: Megapesca Lda Fishfiles Service www.megapesca.com

 

The National Measurement Institute (NMI), the government regulator for weights and measures announced a clarification of its policy on determining the net weight of frozen seafood in retail and food service packaging, after a final consultation with the industry. The policy clarification covers all species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs normally traded, but excludes value-added variations such as marinades and coated seafood products.

NMI advised that the “frozen fish method”, which is sometimes known as the partial thaw method, or Test Procedure 7.9, will be the only method applied to determining the net weight of non value-added seafood. This method does not allow for the product‟s ice glaze to be included in the weight, statement regardless of being listed in the contents or ingredients. Thus a package of shrimp labeled 1 kilogram for instance should contain 1kg of shrimp once partially thawed following the NMI‟s described procedure. The NMI advised that, effective immediately, any complaints about seafood products would be investigated using this approach only. They also advised that in the next financial year, from 1 July, they will conduct a series of targeted compliance/enforcement activities to ensure that this approach is being followed by all parties in the marketplace to maintain a level playing field.

Source: INFOFISH Trade News, No. 8/2018

 

The European Union called for WTO talks on fishery subsidies to combat the depletion of fish stocks and the devastation of natural habitats. Many countries the world over subsidies their fishing activity in ways that contribute to overfishing. The EU proposal is to address the two most harmful types of subsidies:
• Subsidies that increase the capacity of fleets to catch fish that represent almost 60% of all fisheries subsidies and lead directly to overfishing;
• Subsidies granted to fishermen who engage in illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing.


While curbing harmful subsidies, the EU proposal foresees flexibility for developing countries and takes account of the needs of fishing communities in least developed and developing countries.


Source: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/ 7 October 2016

The Malysian government will introduce a guideline for the construction of modern fishing vessel in a bid to drive the deep sea fishing industry towards achieving the international standards. The guidelines will provide a benchmark for the construction of new fishing vessels.

The new guidelines were an initiative by the Fisheries Department, in collaboration with Transport Ministry, to help the nation’s fishing industry move forward
The guideline will be issued by the Fisheries Department and will comprise 12 standards which are in line with the International Maritime Organisation and the International Association of Classification Societies.


Source: Ministry of Transport, Malaysia

 The Ministry of Production (PRODUCE), through a new decree, ordered the elimination of anchovy discard practice in the sea in order to strengthen the control and monitoring of the that resource capture activity. The regulation (Supreme Decree No. 024-2016-PRODUCE) establishes measures for anchovy conservation and sustainable use, within the framework of the fisheries sector regulation promoted by the Ministry. In addition, it seeks to obtain timely information provided by fishing permit holders and the progressive introduction of automated control and monitoring means for the capture activity.


The provisions set out in this decree are mandatory and applicable to all fishing permit holders that carry out anchovy capture activities, regardless of the destination of said resource. One of the obligations is to register and communicate the Ministry of Production the information about the anchovy capture through the Electronic Logbook or other means implemented by PRODUCE. The decree will make it possible to obtain better information on anchovy juvenile population in order to adopt timely and conservation measures. For example, establishing the closure of fishing zones as well as honesty during the anchovy catch process.


Source: PRODUCE, November, 2016

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