Efforts of the conference were directed at addressing fishing-related challenges. (Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy)
The overall status of highly migratory and straddling fish stocks still remains a concern for attendees of the Resumed Review Conference on the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement (UNFSA).
Held from May 22 to May 26 at the UN Headquarters in New York, the conference saw the attendance of over 100 delegates, including Seychelles. Attendees were representing governments, regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs), specialised agencies of the UN, and non-governmental organisations.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, was represented by the director general for fisheries, Sheriffa Morel, and the senior policy analyst, Stephanie Radegonde.
“The sustainability of tuna and tuna like-species remains a concern. There are countries that aren’t making any effort to ensure the sustainability of stocks. There are other concerns such as climate change and IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing,” Morel told SNA on Tuesday.
Efforts of the conference were directed at addressing fishing-related challenges to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of marine living resources and ecosystems in an evolving ocean policy environment.
As part of the measures to ensure sustainable fishing, the Seychelles’ Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy has put in place a fisheries co-management plan of the Mahé plateau line and trap fishery.
The plan is expected to effectively manage the fish resource to sustain the industry, the economic value, and ecological and social benefits.
Fisheries is the second top contributor to the Seychelles’ economy.
There was a proposal to strengthen the implementation of the provisions of the agreement to better address any ongoing issues in conservation and management.
The UNFSA commits its parties to make progress in four areas of fisheries management. This includes conservation and management of stocks, mechanisms for international cooperation through RFMOs, monitoring, control and surveillance, and compliance and enforcement, and effective participation of developing states and non-parties.
The 2023 conference ended with recommendations to integrate ecosystem considerations in fisheries management, reduce urgently the world’s fishing capacity to levels commensurate with the sustainability of fish stocks and strengthen RFMOs’ mandates to implement modern approaches to fisheries.
Other proposals included the conduction of RFMO performance reviews, the development of a legally-binding instrument on minimum standards for port state measures and a comprehensive global register of fishing vessels, the expansion of assistance to developing countries, and the establishment of a continuing dialogue to address concerns raised by non-parties.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the conference to resume at a later date due to the fact that it was suspended rather than formally closed.