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Japanese PM supports managed fisheries in Pacific

Thursday 28 May 2015 | Published in Regional


KOROR – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stated that Japan is ready to assist and support Pacific island nations in managing and preserving their maritime resources, Palau’s Island Times reports.

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.

Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau Jr has been vocal on Palau’s intention to close down 80 per cent of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and ban commercial fishing with the enactment of legislation to create 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” and Japan “expressed its support to it”.

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, Palau’s Island Times reports. 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, the newspaper states.

“Each Pacific Island Nation has its own appropriate maritime management in place and Japan has acknowledged and recognized these kinds of programmes,” the Japan Foreign Ministry official stated.

“And in terms of 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 recognised 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.

The leaders took note of the Palau declaration made 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.