By Samantha Semoso – EMTV Online
Taking a massive step towards ocean conservation, the island nation of Palau is the latest in a growing number of countries, and the first Pacific island, to ratify an international agreement to combat illegal fishing.
“I welcome Palau’s ratification of the Port State Measure Agreement as the first-ever country in the Pacific to have done so,” said Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Director General, Jose Graziano da Silva, during a meeting with the President of Palau on the sidelines of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris (COP21), according to a news release issued by FAO.
Palau’s decision will encourage other small island countries to do the same, as they are heavily dependent on fisheries, making them particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of illicit fishing.
FAO estimates that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practice may account for as much as 26 million tonnes of seafood each year, or more than 15 per cent of the total global output.
The decision makes Palau the 15th party to the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing that FAO member adopted in 2009.
“We look forward to partnering with FAO to strengthen our collective efforts to fight IUU fishing,” said President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, adding that these measures will support his country’s large efforts to conserve and manage its fish stocks and biodiversity.