Small Islands Voice Global Forum
Building partnerships to combat illegal long line fishing
Regarding the issue of illegal long line fishing around small islands, these responses focus on building strong partnerships between small islands and larger more powerful countries.
Alex Perrine from Rodrigues (Indian Ocean) writes: One of the best ways to prevent illegal long line fishing is through the building of strong partnerships between small island states and strong countries such as the UK. In order to succeed, however, civil society in small island states should fully participate in such an undertaking and they should be made aware of the negative impacts of such fishing activities.
A similar view is endorsed by Theo Isamu of Palau (Pacific): Here in Palau we have country to country fishing agreements with Japan and the US. Our exclusive economic zone is 629 square kilometers, and although small compared with some other island states, we do not have the resources to completely patrol our area. We have only one patrol boat which costs US$15-20,000 per run and we can't afford to have it out there every day to discourage illegal fishing. Going back to the original article about Ascension Island (http://www.sivglobal.org/?read=55), since it is a UK Territory, another suggestion is to gather as much evidence and work something out with your mother country by providing them with this information. Such evidence can be used to apply sanctions against the country doing illegal fishing in your territory. The UK and the US are pretty much in cooperation together when it comes to the issue of robbing the small island countries of the scarce resources that they need for their very survival.
Richard Afoa Hipa from Niue (Pacific) proposes some measures to counter the illegal activities of the long liners and calls for a united and concerted effort by all leaders of the small Pacific island countries to:
1. Utilise the appropriate international forums to work out these issues and concerns. I am sure this is a common problem shared and experienced by all small islands.
2. Review international treaties and agreements related to fishing in our territorial waters and negotiate better returns for our resources.
3. Seek possible partnerships to form our own fisheries and fish our own fish. Regional cooperation should play an important role here with those already well established helping establish similar fisheries in other small islands - the concept of ‘Sharing is Caring & Caring is Sharing’.
4. Whilst it is expensive and impossible for small islands to patrol their own exclusive economic zones, we need the assistance of our forum partners, New Zealand and Australia, to conduct surveillance to identify the boats, their flags, names and numbers, and to capture those illegally fishing in our waters. I don't know how practical this will be but there must be a way of identifying these culprits.
5. All vessels fishing in our waters must be registered and equipped with some vessel monitoring equipment so they can be monitored electronically.
Maybe some of the above have already been discussed at appropriate regional and global forums but they are just thoughts that came to mind. As the old Chinese proverb says, ‘You give a man a fish, you feed him for one day, but teach the man to fish, you will feed him for the rest of his life’ and similarly, ‘We allow these fishmongers to continue fishing, we will feed them for life and they will not stop laughing in our faces - we stop them from fishing in our waters, we will give our future generations food for life!!’
This is exactly like climate change, the impact of global warming is a direct result of bigger countries depleting the ozone layers through their colossal industrial pollutants and we in the small island countries suffer the consequences of sea level rise and ever fiercer and more damaging hurricanes as we are experiencing today.
If these monster harvesters have depleted the fish in their own waters, we should not allow them to do the same to our waters. Tell you what, I love fishing and I can eat fish any day: ota (lime marinated fish) in coconut cream, throw in some fine chopped spring onions, complimented with some fine chopped tomatoes and cucumbers; fried fish; fish in coconut cream baked in the umu (oven) with onions .. yum, should I go on? I would love my children's children to savor these tastes.
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