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Japan Offers Protection From Illegal Fishing

Japan Offers Protection From Illegal Fishing
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and wife Mary, with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and wife Akie at the Memorial Ceremony for the victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster being that was at the Iwaki Kaisei High School. Following this a floral tribute was laid by PALM8 co-chair and Samoan Prime MinisterTuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi. Photo: DEPTFO
May 20
11:12 2018

Japan will continue to assist the Pa­cific Island coun­tries in improv­ing their capacity to protect their waters from illegal fishing, says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Mr Abe was speaking ahead of the joint summit of the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) that he co-chaired with Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

His comments come at a time when there is increasing concern about the limits of Fiji and other Pacific Island Countries (PICs) be­ing able to police their large and resource-rich Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).

In an impassioned speech, Mr Abe said: “Japan will be unstinting in its assistance towards improving countries’ capacity to “protect the seas”, including each country’s le­gal enforcement capabilities.

“Where Japan wishes to place emphasis from now is, first of all, establishing the rule of law in the maritime order.

“I would like to ask all the leaders here to give special consideration to Japan’s fishing activities.

“At the same time, regarding as­sistance to enhance your guarding capabilities and your capacity to converge resources, I believe Japan has a role it can play.”

Presently, the region receives sup­port in the form of patrol boats from Australia and New Zealand to police its EEZs.

Stats

According to a Pacific Islands Fo­rum Fisheries Agency 2016 report, US$600m (about F$1.25billion) a year is lost to illegal fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

While it is difficult to estimate the total catch lost to pirate fish­ing, some researchers say as much 26 million tonnes is illegally fished every year.

That is about 33 per cent of the world’s total legal catch, according the World Ocean Review.

Japan’s leader also expressed his desire to continue the ‘talanoa,’ style of open dialogue, coined by Fiji at COP23 last year, when it came to co-operation inaddressing the problems caused by climate change.

Mr Abe also stressed the impor­tance of saving and ridding the sea of pollution, saying that the ocean was “crying out in despair”.

He urged the leaders to champion “saving the blue” and “embrace the same passion by which we urge people to save the green”.

The United Nations warns that by 2050 there will be more plastics in the sea than fish unless people stop using single plastic items like plas­tic bags and plastic bottles.

In 2016, the UN says 300 million tonnes of plastics were produced by the global population of some 7 billion people – with severe con­sequences to marine animal and plant life.

The large amount of plastics pre­sent have also been blamed for high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyl being found inside ma­rine organisms swimming at more than 10,000 feet.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the chemical can lead to liver dam­age in humans if consumed in large amounts.

Mr Abe also spoke about the coun­try’s interest to enhance people-to-people exchanges between Japan and the South Pacific.

“Over the next three years, until we gather for the next PALM, Japan intends to work to foster Human Resources and exchanges for more than 5000 people,” the Japanese PM leader said.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: sheldon.chanell@fijisun.com.fj

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