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Parties resolve to stem fisheries plunder

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, August 9, 2009) – Pacific leaders have agreed to work together to address over fishing of migratory fish in Pacific waters. This was agreed on at the Forum Leaders' Meeting in Cairns, Australia this week.

In their final communiqué the leaders noted fisheries resources of the Pacific represent a major source of food and income for Pacific Islands Countries (PICs).

And for many Pacific people is the main prospect for sustainable economic development.

"The maximization of return from these resources and their sustainable conservation and management is therefore fundamental to the long-term socio-economic wellbeing and stability of the region, as is the protection of those resources," the communiqué stated.

Leaders committed to working collectively to ensure that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) adopts and implements effective measures to address overfishing of highly migratory fish stocks that are critical to the development opportunities of many Forum members countries.

"Leaders also committed to working with the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) to ensure coastal States in the region are able to manage tuna resources, and maximise economic returns from the long-term sustainable utilisation of this resource for the enhancement of sustainable development and food security for the Pacific islands," the communiqué stated.

"To achieve these objectives it is important that the WCPFC, as well as national, conservation and management measures are underpinned by a strong, monitoring, control and surveillance framework.

Leaders therefore welcome the initiative of the FFA to develop a Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Strategy."

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