NATION

We’re Supporting Implementing Oceans Goals

Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau is part of a team of ministers led by the Speaker of the House, Dr Jiko Luveni who are currently attending a preparatory meeting at
17 Feb 2017 11:00
We’re Supporting Implementing Oceans Goals
Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau during the preparatory meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Photo: Ministry of Fisheries

Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau is part of a team of ministers led by the Speaker of the House, Dr Jiko Luveni who are currently attending a preparatory meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. This is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The preparatory meeting is a lead up to the “Ocean Conference” which will be held on June 5 to 9 and will be co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden.

The Ocean is a vital ecosystem for humanity’s sustainability and millions of people depend on it for their livelihoods and for nutrition.

Yet, the Ocean has never been more vulnerable than it is today. CO2 emissions, the main driver of climate change, are causing ocean acidification that in turn impacts the entire marine habitat.

Over-exploitation of fisheries is taking up two thirds of fish stocks to the point of collapse.

As new opportunities for economic growth and development arise through the exploitation of the Ocean and its resources, the international community faces new environmental, political and legal challenges.

Fiji is part of a community of policy-makers who have been called upon to address these issues.

Fiji along with many small island nations depend on marine resources for their livelihoods.

The fisheries sector for Fiji comprises of six sub-sectors namely coastal commercial, coastal subsistence, offshore locally based, offshore foreign based, freshwater and aquaculture.

The economic benefits from Fiji’s fisheries can be placed into several categories especially in itscontribution to GDP, contribution to exports, contribution to Government revenue, contribution to employment and contribution to the food supply.

The official contribution of Fishing and Aquaculture to the GDP from 2011 to 2014 have been increasing steadily from $118.7million to $130.2 million.

Government revenue is also collected as Access fees from foreign fishing and since 2006 the only foreign-based vessels that have been licensed to fish in Fiji waters are those operating under the US multi-lateral tuna treaty.

According to Forum Fisheries Agency and US government unpublished data, the share that Fiji received from the US treaty in 2014 was US$555,814.65 (FJ$1,100,513).

At the national level the locally-based offshore fleet is required to pay a number of government charges. In practice, the major fees for the locally-based offshore fleet are the access fee, management fee, and observer levy.

According to the Fisheries Department unpublished data, those fees amounted to $844,000 in 2013 and $701,000 in 2014.

Recent studies conducted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) study estimated that about 12,000 people are employed in coastal fisheries in Fiji.

An SPC study used information from household income and expenditure surveys conducted between 2001 and 2006 to estimate patterns of fish consumption in Pacific Island countries.

For Fiji the per capita fish consumption (whole weight equivalent) was estimated to be 15.0 kg per capita per year in urban areas (fresh fish made up 45 per cent of this amount) and 25.3 kg per capita per year in rural areas (66 per cent fresh fish).

Huge challenges will be faced in the near future if restoration for our oceans is not addressed accordingly.

Leading experts in the field are also attending the Preparatory meeting and will identify key recommendations to help restore the health of the ocean.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) are all interlinked.

SDG 14 is closely connected to other goals such as climate change (SDG 13), sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG 12), hunger and food security (SDG 2), health risks linked to pollution, chemicals and other harmful materials (SDG3), sustainable economic growth and employment (SDG 8), and of course governance and the rule of law (SDG 16).

Source: Ministry of Fisheries

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