News and Views

Ensuring the long-term sustainability of South Pacific regional fisheries

Australia is hosting around 150 international delegates for the fifth Commission Meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), which continues in Adelaide.

In welcoming delegates to the meeting, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, said the occasion provided an opportunity to engage with delegations to discuss the continued management of SPRFMO fisheries resources, which are adjacent to Australia’s exclusive economic zone and reach to the coast of Chile and Peru.

“Australia works to ensure that our domestic fisheries management practices support the principles of economic development and environmental sustainability,” Minister Ruston said.

“Our commitment to establishing and maintaining responsible domestic fishing practices and policy also extends to our participation in international forums where we hope to achieve similar outcomes for those shared fishing resources.”

Concluding on 22 January 2016, the meeting will focus on improving the management and reporting in this fishery for the benefit of all Members and our industry. Australia will also co-sponsor a proposal with Chile and New Zealand concerning improvements to vessel monitoring system requirements, which will help provide a key tool for combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Minister Ruston said the work of SPRFMO is vital in ensuring fisheries resources in the South Pacific Ocean are managed sustainably and that any threats to this progress – such as illegal fishing – are met with ongoing vigilance and cooperation.

“Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing poses a key risk to undermine the hard work and objectives of regional fisheries management organisations,” Minister Ruston said.

“There has been a significant reduction in this illegal fishing activity in the Southern Ocean and other areas where a concerted effort has been made to combat offending vessels.

“The government is committed to combatting illegal fishing and I am delighted that this issue is receiving increasing global attention and action.”