Japanese PM Supports Managed Fisheries In Pacific

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Abe ready to assist islands sustainably manage resources

By Peter Erick L. Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 25, 2015) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan is ready to assist and support Pacific Island Nations in managing and preserving their maritime resources.

During the press briefing after the Seventh Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM7), a Japan Foreign Ministry official said that the leaders highlighted the importance of the long-term and cooperative relationship in the fisheries area between Japan and the Forum Island Countries (FICs), such as for improving the sustainability of fisheries resources as well as promoting mutually beneficial fisheries relationships with Japanese vessels in the region.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. has been very vocal on Palau’s intention to close down 80% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and ban commercial fishing with the intent of the legislation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. The Japan Foreign Ministry official said that during the bilateral meeting between Remengesau and Prime Minister Abe, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary was mentioned once and Japan has expressed its support to it as well.

Under the leadership of President Tommy Remengesau Jr., Palau is poised to make history by establishing the world’s first Nation-wide Marine Sanctuary – designating its entire ocean territory as a regenerative zone for sharks, whales, tuna, and countless other precious species.

This is a bold vision to reverse the oceans’ degradation from industrial fishing and to protect one of the last great places on Earth, and we know it can work. Palau declared the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009. Today, 10 countries have followed Palau's lead, creating 4.9 million square miles of shark sanctuary. Others have followed suit with similarly important shark protections. Palau showed that it was possible. Its small spark ignited massive global action.

"Each Pacific Island Nation has its own appropriate maritime management in place and Japan has acknowledged and recognized these kinds of programs. And in terms with Palau, President Remengesau has been mentioning the protection and conservation of the Pacific Ocean to which Japan is very supportive and we will extend the necessary assistance in preserving maritime resources in each Pacific Island Country," the Japan Foreign Ministry official stated.

In the PALM7 Leaders Declaration, they recognized that the Pacific Ocean provides foundation of prosperity for the Pacific Countries, they also reaffirmed critical importance of integrated approaches to sustainable development, management and conservation of ocean resources and the marine environment. Thus, the leaders took note of the Palau declaration during the recent Pacific Island Forum (PIF) on "The Ocean: Life and Future" (2014), the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape (2010) and the Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy (2005).

The leaders reaffirmed to further enhance both bilateral and multilateral cooperation in such areas as marine environment, maritime security, maritime safety, maritime surveillance, marine scientific research and observations, conservation of ocean resources and sustainable fisheries management to promote economic growth and to improve livelihoods and food security.

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