First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Hon. Dato' Seri Hj. Mohd. Shariff bin Hj. Omar, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Malaysia for his presence and consent to officiate the "Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission Regional Consultative Forum: Reforming Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific" on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Malaysia.
It is my privilege and pleasure to extend my warmest welcome to all the Honourable Guests, Distinguished Participants from the Asia-Pacific region to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
As you are all probably aware, this forum is the first forum organized by APFIC held in conjunction with the Twenty-ninth Session of APFIC to replace the APFIC Symposia. The proposal to organize this Forum was initiated by the APFIC Secretary during the Sixty-ninth Session of the APFIC Executive Committee in Pattaya, Thailand, December 2003. Subsequently the proposal was endorsed by the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) at its Twenty-eighth Session in Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 2004.
It is hoped that this forum will assist in strengthening APFIC's function as a Regional Consultative Forum to provide a framework for members to discuss fisheries issues which affect members across the wider Asia-Pacific region, formulate recommendations for action and act as a regional coordinating body by transferring and exchanging information and experience. In this context APFIC could act as a platform to discuss emerging issues related to fisheries, aquaculture, trade and sustainable management facing its members in the region. Members will work together to develop and agree on ways of implementing policies and action plans to address the issues raised. The outcome of this forum will be used to reshape fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region for future generations and be forwarded to the Twenty-ninth Session of APFIC which will be held after this forum, that is, from 21-23 August 2006 in Kuala Lumpur for consideration and endorsement.
The objectives of this forum as indicated in the official opening programme book are namely:
Four (4) main themes will be discussed in this forum namely:
These four (4) themes are very much related to the issues raised at all international and global fora whereby the issue of sustainability of the fisheries is debated. We are very fortunate here that regional fishery body (RFB) like APFIC is concerned about the fate of million of fishers especially in developing countries of the Asia-Pacific and the sustainability of the fisheries regionally and globally.
To the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO FishCode), Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Republic of Korea and other donors, we would like to express our greatest gratitude for providing the needed fund for the organization of this forum and we give you the assurance that we will try our best to make this forum a success and a meaningful one.
I understand that this forum has over 100 participants from countries all over the Asia-Pacific region. Your presence will add to the seriousness and commitment of this forum and as participants from the different countries in this region, will exchange ideas and learn from each other to build and agree on ways of implementing policies and action plans to reform fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region. I sincerely suggest that you take full advantage of the discussion that follows the presentations of our distinguished speakers.
Once again, I would like to thank all the resource persons and paper and poster presenters, and participants for giving their valuable time to attend this forum. To the Organizing Committee of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission Regional Consultative Forum and INFOFISH, I thank you for your hard work in ensuring the success of this forum.
Last but not least, I wish to express my sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to FAO and APFIC, for jointly organizing this forum; to the Hon. Dato' Seri Hj. Mohd. Shariff bin Hj. Omar, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Malaysia for his consent to officiate at this forum as well as to all those who have in one way or another contributed to the success of this event.
I sincerely hope that all of you will have a pleasant and memorable stay in Kuala Lumpur.