Excellencies, Distinguish Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the opening of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission 2nd Regional Consultative Forum Meeting or RCFM in Manado, Indonesia. As APFIC Chairman of the period of 2007-2009, I am very grateful that you are willing to cooperate and share your vision for the development of the marine and fishery sector in the region of Asia-Pacific. While as the Secretary General of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, on the behalf of the Minister and all of our staff, I am deeply honored that we are trusted to host such an important meeting.
The RCFM is a regional forum created the secretariat of APFIC to facilitate the creation of marine and fishery policy which will be implemented in the region of Asia-Pacific. The 2nd RCFM is a regional forum for agreeing on actions needed to adapt to the merging challenges to fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region. The focus of this Manado meeting is to look at the promotion of effective arrangements for managing fisheries and aquaculture in the region. The participants of this meeting numbered approximately 140 participants, ranging from the representatives of the 25 APFIC member countries, non-governmental organizations and numerous marine and fishery experts including private sectors.
The agenda of this meeting includes the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and the measures to combat it, capacity management, certification and responsible fisheries. We hope that this meeting provides precious and important recomendation for the policy-making session during the 30th APFIC Main Session based on the spirit of cooperation and togetherness to adress the issues. The main session is the policy-making session in which the 25 member countries formulates, amend or change Asia-Pacific fishery related policies and implement them. APFIC was one of the earliest regional agreements, formed in 1949 and focused on cooperation for developing fisheries in the region of Asia-Pacific.
The ocean is shared by all of us. One of the oldest human livelihood activities is fishing and the ocean has since provides an abundance of natural resources to support this human activities. In order to ensure that we share the same norms of its sustainable utilization, the United Nation created a convention named the United Nation Convention of the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS. The UNCLOS defines territorial water, including the Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of coastal states. Fishing activities in this territorial water now become the interest of the coastal nation. That is the main reason that Food and Agriculture Organization as the UN body which responsible for the availability food and nutrition created several agreement, for example, the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) in order to define the responsibilities of nations which shared fisheries resources to cooperate. This is simply because that the effort of managing the ocean natural resources needs to be done together, through bilateral, regional and global cooperation.
This raises the issue of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. Fish is undoubtedly a shared natural resources. Most fish in the ocean, especially species with high economic value is pelagic. They breed in one area and then spend the rest of its life reaching adulthood travelling the ocean following an instinc forge by million of years of evolution. Therefore, in order to use the ocean’s natural resources sustainably and responsibly, fishing activities in an industrial scale need to be closely regulated. As we understand, the ocean’s fish stock is steadily decline. This is certainly not a very good development in the region of Asia-Pacific where fishing is one of the main livelihoods, even the only mean of living, of its inhabitants.
The International Plan of Action (IPOA) provides direction for a concerted effort and measures to implement the management of fishery resources globally. To show its commitments, Indonesia initiated the Regional Plan of Action for Responsible Fisheries including to Combat IUU Fishing or RPOA for short, together with Australia. The RPOA is the derivative of the IPOA and draws frow other existing international agreements. The RPOA emphasizes on greater compliance amongst the 10 countries in the region of Asia-Pacific: Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Filipina, Timor-Leste, Singapore, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and Brunei Darussalam.
One of its most important measures is Port State Measures (PSM). PSM are requirements to established or interventions undertaken by port states which a foreign fishing vessel must comply with or is subjected to as a condition for use of ports within the port state, including requirements related to prior notification of port entry, use of designated ports, restrictions on port entry and landing/trans-shipment of fish, restrictions on supplies and services, documentation requirements and port inspections, as well as related measures, such as IUU vessel listing, trade-related measures and sanctions. If its implemented, it will severely impede the practice of IUU fishing.
Still in the subject of the management of fisheries, there are some organizations specifically created with stronger management functions, providing advice and managing scientific advice. These Regional Fisheries Management Organizations or RFMOs have dedicated and focused their functions, limiting their scope, and providing clear direction for their action, which includes drastic measures such embargo of a nation’s fishery product to enter international market or the market in the member of the related RFMO’s. The common feature of these RFMO’s is the intent to promote responsible fisheries and encourage the development of norms of practice and behaviour within the sectoral focus of the body or arrangement.
However, still further harmonization and coordination of measures is needed. Communication and cooperation between this RFMO’s should be encouraged along with knowledge sharing for the purpose of fisheries management and to implement the practice of responsible fisheries. Also we should not forget that standardize measure and measurement between these RFMO’s is needed. This will allow coordinated the implementation and the enforcement of fishery management measures.
We have our differences, however we should not let it kept us to work together and discussing important regional issues in order to find the best way to address it. This democratic and open forum should be utilized to the maximum. That is why APFIC and the host government try to invite the marine and fisheries related stakeholders.
We believe that the results of this APFIC 2nd RCFM meeting are recommendations that scientifically proven and implementable. I wish you to have a good session which filled with a healthy discussion and enjoy your stay in Manado.
Dr S H Sarundajang, Governor of North Sulawesi;
Prof. Widi Agoes Pratiko, APFIC Chairman and Secretary General, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries;
APFIC Member Country Representatives;
APFIC Partner organizations and NGOs;
Observers and other participants;
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of Mr Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and as the Secretary of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission, I welcome you all to the APFIC Second Regional Consultative Forum Meeting, to be held here in Manado, Indonesia, over the next three days.
APFIC is the oldest fisheries Commission in the World and over time it has undergone many changes. In its current role APFIC acts as a “consultative forum” to better inform Members of issues affecting the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture across the APFIC region and to bring the Members together to plan actions and strategies to address those issues.
The Regional Consultative Forum Meeting precedes the main APFIC Session and aims to provide Members with a neutral forum to discuss issues and develop recommendations for the Commission to consider and act on. This has involved forging better links with regional partner organizations and relevant non-governmental organizations across the region. It is very encouraging to see many of our partners participating here today. Thank you for your support.
The Consultative Forum Meeting is now held every two years and are based on number of inter-sessional workshops on selected issues that the Commission considered to be of major regional importance. Over the last biennium, the Commission has focused its attention on two important issues – “Managing fishing capacity and IUU fishing in the Asian region” and “Certification Schemes for Capture Fisheries and Aquaculture”. The Secretariat has now organised a number of regional workshops on each of these topics. Both these issues will have a major impact on the future supply and demand for seafood in the region and you will have the opportunity to hear about the outcomes of these during the forum meeting.
The theme of this Consultative Forum Meeting is “Adapting to emerging challenges: promoting effective arrangements for managing fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region”. This builds on the theme of the first Consultative Forum Meeting that was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 – “Reforming Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific”, which recognised the need for improved management of the region’s natural resources and a move towards more sustainable development. In particular, the Commission recommended that co-management become mainstreamed much more into government fisheries and aquaculture activities and used to address key national policy objectives including reducing overcapacity and overexploitation of both marine and freshwater fisheries. It also recommended that the issue of increasing catches of low value/trash fish be tackled by (i) improved management of fisheries (ii) improved utilization for human consumption and (iii) improved feeds for aquaculture. We hope to review our progress on these two fronts during this forum meeting.
As part of your contribution to the Consultative Forum Meeting, you will also be asked to reflect on the recommendations and actions suggested by the two APFIC workshops held this biennium and hopefully, formulate these into action plans that can be endorsed by the full Commission Session and implemented in your countries. We will also be looking at what new themes, APFIC should be considering over the next biennium. The APFIC Executive Committee has identified a range of topics including the ecosystem approach to fisheries and sustaining livelihoods and food security to be worthy of a much more concerted effort and we will be considering these on the last day of the forum.
I would like to stress that this is your forum. This forum meeting is not intended to be a seminar where participants take a passive role and simply listen to a number of speakers. Members will be encouraged to share their experiences throughout the forum meeting and in preparation have been asked to provide presentations and posters on the forum themes to facilitate the exchange of information and opportunity for discussion and comment. We are focusing on “success stories” – what has worked and why so that we can all share in these successes.
Members will also be asked to develop a set of recommendations that will be considered by the subsequent Commission Session. This is an opportunity to address many of the issues that have plagued fisheries and aquaculture development in the past.
Before I conclude my remarks, I would like to take this opportunity thank the Member countries, Regional Organization partners and everyone who has enthusiastically contributed this Regional Consultative Forum Meeting and the two inter-sessional workshops.
I would thank the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Governor and people of North Sulawesi for kindly hosting this meeting and making everyone feel welcome at the forum. Thanks are especially due to the Chair of APFIC and the staff of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, who have been responsible for much of the meeting organization. Lastly, but not least, I thank you, the participants, and urge you to focus your energy over the next three days to support the new course for fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region that is being charted by APFIC and its partners.
His Excellency, Assistant Director General of FAO, Mr Ichiro Nomura; the Honourable Secretary, General of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, as Chairman of APFIC; the Regional leaders council of North Sulawesi; distinguished guest, ladies and gentlemen.
Greetings to all of you.
First of all, let us praise God almighty for his blessings and grace that we can gather here to attend the opening ceremony of the second RCFM that will take place from 6 to 9 August 2008, continued with the 30th Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) main Session from 11 to 13 August 2008 in Manado, North Sulawesi. In this opportunity, please allow me, on behalf of the government and people of the North Sulawesi province to extend my appreciation and gratitude for Manado to be chosen as the venue for this event and to express our warmest welcome to the “land of the waving coconut trees” North Sulawesi Province, with Manado City as the capital, is located in the Northern peninsula of Sulawesi island, bounded by Sulawesi sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Republic of Philippines on the North Side and by Malaku sea on the east side. To the South and West are bounded by Tomini Gulf and Gorontalo province. The total area of North Sulawesi is 15 376 square km comprising nine regencies and four cities. The total population of the province, according to the 2005 census is 2 121 234 people. This province is commonly known as the land of the waving coconut trees, the land of smiling people and the peaceful province.
North Sulawesi has much potential to be developed among others: plantation sectors for coconut, clove and nutmeg and agricultural sectors for crops such as rice and vegetables. In the fisheries sector, the province is surrounded by vast sea waters with potentials for tuna, cakalang, marlin and numerous other fish species. Many demersal, coral-dependent, and small pelagic fish are produced in North Sulawesi and exported to other countries. The fisheries economic gravity and contribution to the province continues to increase, which leads the provincial government to strategically put fisheries in the main development priority, as it generates significant income for the locals, both people and government. This province has a coastline of 1 837 kilometres, 286 small islands and 190 000 square kilometre of EEZ
In the tourism sector, there are numerous interesting and fascinating places to visit, among others, the Bunakan marine national park, surrounding Bunaken island, which a tourism resort that have captivated many foreign and local divers and tourists. There are wildlife reserve parks for you to enjoy indigenous flora and fauna, such as the Bogani Nani Wartabone and Tangkoko Batuangus national parks, which is particularly famous for the Tarsius spectrum, the smallest monkey in the world that is only 10 cm in height.
In 1997, an ancient fish species was found in the waters of North Sulawesi, the coelacanth, belonging to the order of Coelacanthiformes. Based on fossil records, coelacanth first appeared on earth 360 million years ago during the “great fish age” in the paleozoic era, 100 million years before the birth of dinosaurs in the Jurassic period. This species is different from the one found in South Africa, with an estimated divergence time between the two of 30 to 40 million years, and named Latimeria menadoensis, which the locals call “raja laut” or king of the sea. In 1998 and 2007, two coelacanths were unintentionally caught alive by local fishermen in Manado bay.
Considering the potentials in marine resources and fisheries in North Sulawesi, it also reminds us of how important it is to maintain a sustainable ocean management, particularly in the effect of climate change, as it is a major source of income for the locals. That is why we are holding the world ocean conference 2009 on may 11 to 15, to discuss the impacts of climate change on oceans and the role of oceans on climate change among heads of states with ocean territories, experts, NGOs and private sectors from all over the world. There is a national committee for this event, which is chaired by the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Freddy Numberi, and myself, as the vice chairman.
In its preparation, the local government is undertaking major steps in improving the infrastructures of the area. However, it is not only for this reason, but to prepare North Sulawesi to look forward into making this province an attractive tourist destination and for mice. In this regard, we are also ready to open up new opportunities for investments and welcome the investors who are interested in doing business in North Sulawesi, and moreover be more familiar with Indonesia as a whole.
I hope that the meeting that will take place within the next several days in Manado will be fruitful and especially give contribution to the development of fisheries and marine resources for the participants. I believe that the information shared in this meeting will bring mutual benefits for all of us, in hope that the marine resources we have may be properly and adequately utilized and maintained.
Finally, I would like to conclude by expressing my sincere thanks once again to the participants and organizers of this event, in particular, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia and APFIC. Hopefully this event will strengthen the cooperation relationship between the members of APFIC and especially with the government of North Sulawesi province.
Thank you. God bless us all.