UK Marine and Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw today urged the international community to make the war on illegal fishing a priority.
Mr Bradshaw told the Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands in Paris, (held 23rd to 28th January 2006) that working together and demonstrating international leadership could find practical solutions to fisheries and conservation issues.
He also highlighted the work of the High Seas Task Force, which he chairs, as a co-ordinated means of combating ILLEGAL, UNREGULATED AND UNREPORTED (IUU) fishing on the high seas.
Mr Bradshaw said: “We need to find ways of bringing fisheries and conservation interests together around a shared interest in good governance and sustainability.
“IUU fishing is a serious global problem putting unsustainable pressure on fish stocks and the marine environment, and severe economic pressure on some of the poorest countries.
“We must address these problems as a matter of urgency - to do nothing will threaten precious sea life.”
The High Seas Task Force is a group of world fisheries ministers and international Non –Government Organisations working together to combat IUU fishing in international waters. A report on IUU fishing by the Task Force is due to be launched at the beginning of March.
This is the third Global Oceans Conference, the first being in the run up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. It brings together Ministers, high-level officials, UN and other international agencies, NGOs, industry, and organised science groups to accelerate progress in the attainment of the World Summit on Sustainable Development oceans and fisheries targets, and the Millennium Development Goals. One of the key themes this year is high seas oceans governance.