Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Fishing communities are not only at the local level, but also at the regional and global dimension, our planet is considered as a small village, and fishing communities are more at the heart of aquatic food production and consumption.
Their livelihoods are closely connected to the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic resources and the global marine environment,
And they contribute to the wellbeing of the community, preserving its culture and longstanding traditions
Last year, FAO led the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022, to remind the world of the multiple contributions of small-scale fishers, fish farmers and fish workers, to food security and nutrition, poverty eradication and the sustainable use of natural resources.
We must now also elevate our support to fishing communities around the world.
This International Conference of Fishing Communities, hosted by the Korean Maritime Institute, is an important step along this path.
By empowering fishing communities we can enhance the contribution of aquatic foods to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind.
We need to transform aquatic food systems, and the fishing communities, through more targeted and integrated actions that not only increase economic opportunities, but also address social and environmental objectives.
This is at the core of FAO’s Blue Transformation vision.
Together, we can build on the momentum of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, for an inclusive, sustainable, equitable and impactful Blue Transformation.
And pave the way for a new and better future for fisheries and aquaculture communities globally.
I wish you a successful conference.
UN ESCAP Director-General
Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies, and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to contribute to the Opening Ceremony of the “International Conference on Fishing Communities 2023”.
The oceans produce 70per cent of the oxygen we breathe and are responsible for over 80per cent of global trade. Around 60 million of the world's population are employed in primary fisheries. Of these, 85 per cent live in Asia and the Pacific, and 21 per cent are women.
Today's oceans are exposed to rising sea levels, extreme weather and natural disasters due to global warming. In addition, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and marine pollution pose a major threat to sustainable fisheries and biodiversity.
In addition to the ecological and natural challenges posed by changing marine environments, fishing communities face many economic and social challenges, including ageing, population decline, the gradual disappearance of traditional cultures and lack of access to education, healthcare and markets.
We believe that fishing communities are going through a new period of transition and data-driven policy making is essential to respond effectively to a changing environment.
Furthermore, since the challenges facing fishing communities are intertwined geographically and environmentally, there is a limit to what one single country can do.
As an intergovernmental organization, ESCAP is ready to work and help you strengthen multilateral cooperation involving all stakeholders across our diverse region.
Before closing, I would like to thank the Korea Maritime Institute for organizing this conference.
I am confident that it will be a platform to support and drive change in fishing communities.
Thank you very much.
On behalf of Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (or PEMSEA for short), I would like to congratulate the Korea Maritime Institute, which is PEMSEA’s non country partner for hosting the first International Conference on Fishing Communities. The conference is timely and relevant as it hopes to shed light on solutions and opportunities for fishing communities in the region.
The goal of the ICFC in promoting sustainable and resilient fishing communities is in line with the global UN SDG and in the region, PEMSEA's mission, which emphasize the protection and sustainable use of the region's marine resources and ecosystems.
PEMSEA is a regional cooperation mechanism created by 11 countries (including RoKorea and DPRKorea) and 20 plus non country partners, a significant number of which are based in Korea, such as KMI, KOEM, KIOST, KEI and MABIK.
PEMSEA as a partnership jointly implements the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia. Among others, the regional strategy examines the links between food security and sustainable livelihoods and the sustainable use of biodiversity, and the exploitation of fisheries, in the context of blue economy.
Critical questions confronting the region include,
how to manage fish stocks and marine ecosystems, within a dynamic environment subject to climate fluctuations and change, in such a way as to maximize harvests without compromising future yields,
how will fisheries and aquaculture grow and the pressures on fishery resources change over time and space.
At the same time, socioeconomic research are needed to tailor fisheries management strategies to local, national, and regional conditions, that incorporate integrated coastal management (ICM), marine spatial plan (MSP), regulations, penalties, incentives, and the participation of various stakeholders, particularly women and vulnerable groups.
PEMSEA partners like KMI in Korea and others in the region and the PEMSEA Network of Learning Centres are ideally situated to help address the above questions and more; however, investments are needed to expand the capacity for research, and applications in planning and management for more sustainable fisheries development.
Without increased capacity development, this region will be less able to respond to the complex challenges and take advantage of opportunities for economic development as the fisheries sector could be adversely affected by the impacts of collapsing fish stocks, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Such capacity building can be accelerated through collaboration between the countries, regional bodies such as FAO, WCPFC, ASEAN, SEAFDEC to name a few, and scientific centers of excellence in fisheries, marine science, and coastal and ocean management are equally important.
I hope that strengthened and/or new collaborative programs to tackle the issues I’ve raised will be one of the key outcomes of the conference. This will make ICFC relevant to the entire East Asian Seas. In the meantime, allow me to wish you a fruitful conference and I look forward to hearing about its conclusions and recommendations.
Thank you. And have a good day.