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Australian Senator Calls for Regional Cooperation to Fight illegal Fishing

06 November 2014

AUSTRALIA - Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, has highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in the fight against illegal fishing.

Senator Colbeck is in Cairns today and delivered the opening address at the 7th Coordination Committee meeting of the Regional Plan of Action (RPOA) to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices in South East Asia.

He also launched Australia’s second National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“Illegal fishing has a significant economic impact and costs the world’s fishing nations an estimated A$26 billion each year. Our National Plan of Action represents a shared vision for combating this issue,” Senator Colbeck said.

“Since the release of Australia’s first Plan in 2005, we have seen many improvements in the identification and surveillance of suspected illegal fishing vessels. Our second plan builds on the work of the past 10 years and outlines Australia’s national, regional and international framework of actions and measures.”

Senator Colbeck said the RPOA should be recognised for creating an effective surveillance network in the regional fight against illegal fishing.

“Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing depletes fish stocks through overfishing and threatens regional food security and Australia’s valuable domestic fisheries. This is why Australia is committed to a strong stance when it comes to stamping out illegal fishing,” he said.

“We have the opportunity to share our experience and knowledge with our regional partners and work together to ensure the sustainability of the Asia-Pacific fisheries.”

“I’m confident the greater collaboration and cooperation we have fostered in regional surveillance and enforcement will only strengthen our region’s capacity to sustainably manage our valuable fisheries.”

Australia is one of eleven RPOA partner nations, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

RPOA countries represent around 17 per cent of global marine capture fisheries output and harvest around 14 million tonnes of seafood each year. The harvest is valued at around $11.3 billion.

A copy of the report is available here - http://www.agriculture.gov.au/fisheries/iuu/plans-of-action/plans

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