On September 29th 2020, an online event was held with IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners on Advancing Sustainable Fisheries Management, as one of the main focus in IORA’s Blue Economy Agenda.
IORA attributes high importance to the fisheries sector as one of the main resources of the Indian Ocean that provides food to hundreds of millions of people and greatly contributes to the livelihoods to coastal communities.
The topics covered during the meeting were related to the effects of changing climate on Indian fisheries and aquaculture and aquatic biodiversity, as well as to the seafood processing value chains and competitiveness. The workshop also promoted a cross-topic dialogue sharing and discussing research, developments and cooperation opportunities in the Indian Ocean region.
The importance of the fisheries sector both for the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean
In today’s society, more than 1 billion of the world’s population rely on fish products as the principal source of food and animal protein. Moreover, the fisheries sector plays a vital role in contributing to food security, poverty alleviation, job creation and it also represents significant business opportunities.
The speakers of the event, Trian Yunanda, Director of Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in Indonesia, Lubna al-Kharusi, Director for IORA Fisheries Support Unit (FSU) in Oman, and Aubrey Harris, Fisheries Expert at Cofrepeche (Seychelles), have laid much emphasis on two vital features of this sector that need to be considered carefully nowadays: the sustainability aspects and the protection of the marine environment.
The importance of this sector has been highlighted at the IORA Leaders’ Summit in 2017, whereby the Leaders committed to “Promote sustainable and responsible fisheries management and development”, through “enhancing science-based management and conservation of marine living resources, including through supporting and strengthening the work of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), and enhancing regional and international mechanism to combat IUU fishing”.
The Cluster Group on Fisheries Management
In 2020, the establishment of the Cluster Group on Fisheries Management (CGFM) – an initiative led by Indonesia as the lead coordinator of the CGFM – has enhanced the fisheries agenda with a specific Work Plan to strengthening regional cooperation in the fisheries management sector in the Indian Ocean.
In the same perspective of enhancing the national and regional cooperation, Federpesca, representing Italy with its role in the Mediterranean region, has underlined the contribution by the Blue Italian Growth Cluster (BIG), aimed at collaborating with the academic sector, also through data collection, for the development of masterplans on sustainable management and research. Aim of BIGC is to bring together scientists and industrial stakeholders from the Mediterranean, working on fisheries and aquaculture in order to explore the effects of environmental changes on fishery and aquaculture.
Fisheries conservation measures for the protection of marine environment: the Italian holistic approach
Despite their great importance, today fisheries worldwide are facing a wide range of challenges such as overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, marine pollution and habitat destruction.
Hence IORA’s initiative to develop and monitor fisheries management cooperation in the IORA region together with the support and assistance of the IORA Fisheries Support Unit (FSU), enabling Member States to keep abreast with the latest development, including the ongoing and upcoming projects, to advance cooperation in the fisheries sector in IORA. In view of further exchanges of information on advancing development in the fisheries management sector, Italy has presented a prospect of what Federpesca is naming “holistic approach to sustainable fisheries management”, as an ecosystem to support members and promote sustainable fishing.
Federpesca available to share its expertise
Federpesca supports a foundation (NGO) that promotes sustainable fishing and brings the expertise of Italian fisheries abroad, with a branch in Brussels to follow the European legislation. Dr Federico Gallas underlined Italy’s full availability to share with IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners Federpesca’s expertise in sustainable fisheries management, acquired also in collaboration with other European countries, in the joint management of European projects on stock conservation, selective fishing (in particular, in research and development of innovative fishing gears) and in projects to fight IUU through the introduction of ICT and satellite monitoring.