North Atlantic fisheries ministers meet and agree to continued discussion
The Ministers of Fisheries of the North Atlantic countries signed a statement following a meeting held in Canada at the end of last month. The 22nd Conference was devoted to the conservation of marine ecosystems. This gathering is traditionally attended by fishing ministers of the European Union, the Russian Federation, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway.
The meeting focused on the need for regional co-operation in the North Atlantic with the use of the best national practices in fisheries and water conservation. Discussions covered the general problems of fishing in the North Atlantic, which include the effects of global climate change and the need to jointly combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, damaging the fishing industry and the environment.
Canadaâ€™s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic Leblanc, confirmed at this 22nd conference that Canada intends to expand the area of protected marine and coastal areas from the current 5% to 10% by 2020.
Ilya Shestakov, head of the Russian Fisheries Agency, made a report to the meeting of ministers, and stated that the Russian Federationâ€™s fisheries management in in line with the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
â€˜The Russian Federation joined FAO in 2006 and, despite the relatively short time that has elapsed since then, our country is in full compliance with the principles set out by the FAO Code,â€™ he said, commenting that there is a consistent expansion of the area of specially protected natural areas, such as the Franz Josef Land Reserve.
He added that decisions made by the state are based on scientific data in accordance with Principle 4 of the FAO Code, and also in line with Principle 4, Russia encourages bilateral co-operation with other states in the field of scientific research.
â€˜One of the examples of the precautionary approach is the management of north-eastern Arctic cod. The recommendations for stock management will be discussed in detail at the next session of the Joint Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission in October 2017. This fully corresponds to the principle of the need for co-operation between the states of the Code of the FAO (principle 15),â€™ said Ilya Shestakov.
Commenting on the work currently in progress to improve regulation, he stated that conformation of measures to stimulate the construction of new fishing onshore processing capacity has been confirmed, aimed at increasing high-quality production, and an important aspect of this is compliance of this new capacity with the principles of eliminating waste in production.
Ilya Shestakov said that there are still issues in improving the quality and security of fish products, and the creation of modern port and logistics infrastructure is incorporated into the Fisheries Development Programme developed by the Russian Fishery Agency and set to run until 2030.
The conference delegates emphasised that the protection of the marine environment is inextricably linked with the sustainable use of marine resources, with key strategies in setting limits, up to the introduction of a long-term closures of certain fisheries.
The discussion of key issues will be continued at forthcoming 4th International Congress on Marine Protected Areas at La Serena-Coquimbo in Chile, the World Seafood Congress in Reykjavik and the International Fisheries Forum in St. Petersburg, all of which take place this month.
The 23rd Conference of Ministers of Fisheries of the North Atlantic in 2018 will be held in the Faroe Islands.
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