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Statement by the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, on World Fisheries Day

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On behalf of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, is honoured to mark World Fisheries Day on the 21st of November. It recognises the immense contribution of fisheries to the sustainable development of Members of the OACPS. A productive and resilient fisheries sector capable of providing long-term social and economic opportunities, depends on the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries, and the marine and aquatic ecosystems that they depend on.

 

Fisheries provides much needed employment and export earnings of fish and fishery products for more than 60 of the 79 Members of the OACPS. It plays an irreplaceable and important role in food security & nutrition, and the livelihoods & wellbeing of many Members of the OACPS and their communities, often accounting for more than half of their animal protein intake.

 

While fish and fishery products are the most traded food commodity globally, the sector is undermined by persistent human activities that place a serious strain on the sustainable management, use and conservation of fisheries. Regrettably, human practices such as overfishing, harmful fisheries subsidies, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, pollution, and  climate change are placing fish stocks under enormous pressure, and are undermining efforts to ensure productive and resilient fisheries that endure into the future.

 

Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused immeasurable disruptions to the fisheries sector. It has seriously affected production and supply chains, and jeopardised existing markets. These in turn have resulted in immense social and economic impacts on Members of the OACPS, and particularly our Small Island Developing States (SIDS) members whose economies rely heavily on fisheries and marine resources.

 

The OACPS is committed to making a positive contribution to meeting the evolving priority needs of its Members to sustain the positive contribution of fisheries for their sustainable development aspirations, ambitions and goals. The OACPS Secretariat, through its regular programme of work, supports Members of the OACPS through fisheries development programming and fisheries governance efforts at the global multilateral levels, such as the ongoing negotiations for a global deal on harmful fisheries subsidies. It also coordinates and facilitates lesson learning, and the sharing and exchanging of experiences drawn from relevant, promising initiatives.

 

On World Fisheries Day, we must remain ever-mindful of the need to ensure the health of the Blue Planet, its oceans and other aquatic ecosystems, as well as to ensure the sustainable management and use of our fisheries and other natural assets. This is integral to achieving SDG 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is an ambitious and necessary universal call to action that all Members of the OACPS are committed to, so that we can collectively contribute towards ending poverty, protecting our planet and living in peace and prosperity by 2030.

 


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