Mr Trevor Murray, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources; Mr Bissessar Chakalall, Senior Fishery Officer, FAO Subregional Office in Barbados; Dr David Doulman, Senior Fishery Liaison Officer, Fishery Policy and Planning Division, FAO headquarters, Rome; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Specially Invited Guests, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
As Chairperson of the opening ceremony, I wish, to personally welcome you this morning, to the opening of this very timely and opportune five day Regional Workshop on the Elaboration of National Plans of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated or (IUU) Fishing in the Caribbean. I especially wish to welcome those of you from overseas who are visiting us for the first time and hope that you had an uneventful and pleasant journey to this meeting in Port of Spain.
Ladies and Gentlemen: IUU fishing is a major problem confronting world fisheries today. It is committed by the unscrupulous among us who would flagrantly violate the international rules prescribed for responsible fishing in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over legitimate fishers. IUU fishing, whether conducted in waters under national jurisdiction or in international waters poses a serious threat to fisheries in that it undermines all efforts at sustainable management of fish stocks. This type of fishing can assume many forms such as fishing without authorization from the flag State, fishing without maintaining proper records or mis-reporting catches, using inappropriate gear or infringements of fisheries management plans such as fishing in prohibited seasons and areas. The problem of IUU fishing is a very important item on most, if not all, national, regional and international fisheries agendas. IUU fishing is not of recent date and the problem first came into prominence in the early nineties followed by calls on a global scale later in that decade, to combat this predicament that had befallen fisheries.
The Workshops thus far, convened this year in Port of Spain by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations affirm the thematic links in the work of FAO; I refer to the Joint FAO/MALMR workshop held last June on Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS). The VMS Workshop presented the cutting edge in communication technology to address among other things, IUU fishing. This IPOA-IUU fishing workshop signifies FAO's continuing role and proficiency as the standard bearer in bringing to the forefront, fisheries issues of regional and international importance. Regional fisheries scientists may at this workshop access FAO's expertise and technical assistance to fully appreciate the IPOA-IUU and to build national capacity in the formulation of such relevant national action plans to address with this problem.
At this time, Ladies and Gentlemen and without further ado, please join with me in inviting Mr Bissessar Chakalall of the FAO to the podium, to deliver his address.