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ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM WORKSHOP ON SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND FOOD SECURITY IN SOUTH EAST ASIA

13-14 MARCH 2018, BANGKOK, THAILAND

The above event brought together Diplomats, government officials, think tanks, Inter Governmental Organisations (IGO), Non Government Organisations (NGO) and industry players to discuss on the need for Sustainable Fisheries Management and address food security in South East Asia.

MIMA was invited to speak on approaches to fishery management and food security. MIMA and the Department of Fisheries Malaysia took active part in the series of discussion. First Admiral Dato Chin Yoon Chin, Director General MIMA, moderated the session on ASEAN-Wide Cooperation for Sustainable Fisheries and Management II while Capt. Martin A. SEBASTIAN RMN (R), spoke on the Comprehensive Approach to Fishery Management and Food Security. 

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Within the context of safeguarding fishery resources and food security, there is also a need to address the marine environment and it’s biodiversity. Scientific Studies are also needed on the marine resources as we need to measure what we can manage. To complement these two, inter-agency cooperation in fishery management and food security should be a national issue instead of just a fishery issue since this involves safeguarding of the marine real estate and it’s resources. Whilst food and resource security are mainly addressed through combating of Illegal, Unregulated and Unregistered Fishing (IUUF), there are as well issues like fish laundering (transshipment), destructive fishing, forced labour and drug smuggling (with fishing vessels) that are associated to fishery crimes.

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The Malaysian Team – MIMA and Department of Fisheries Malaysia

It is for this reason, policies on Safeguarding the Marine Environment, Scientific Research, Fishery Management  and Food Security should be comprehensive. Capt. Martin presented on The Comprehensive Approach to Safeguard Fishery Resources.

To begin with, spawning areas and fish refugia must be safeguarded. Capt. Martin reiterated this need as under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG 14), by 2020, nations are to conserve at least 10% of their marine and coastal areas. The report of achievement of the UNSDG 14 in 2016 can be found in https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg14. Only when the habitat and spawning areas of the marine resources are well protected, collaborative efforts to safeguard marine living resources can be developed. In doing so, nations should mobilize their national instruments to manage the marine estate and it’s resources, not just as a financial resource but a valuable renewable protein resources as well. The industry is already playing a major role in combating IUUF and they could be factored in capacity building areas. The Marine Stewardship Council (https://www.msc.org/) is among the certification bodies that support sustainable fisheries.

In line with that, other support measures from USAID and SEAFDEC (https://www.seafdec-oceanspartnership.org/) could also be factored. Interpol has launched Project Scale (https://www.interpol.int/Crime-areas/Environmental-crime/Projects/Project-Scale) to address Fishery Crimes.

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The Moderator and Speakers for the session
ASEAN-Wide Cooperation for Sustainable Fisheries and Management I

Capt. Martin referred to the successes by Indonesia and Thailand in inter-agency cooperation. Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre (ThaiMECC) and Indonesia’s Task Force 115 addressing IUUF and Fishery Crimes, (https://fishcrime.com/indonesia-opens-international-fishforce-academy-indonesia-iffai/).

INDESO(http://www.indeso.web.id/indeso_wp/index.php/en/
and IFish (http://www.ifish.id/) another example where scientific data and fishery management are addressed.

With these “torchbearers”  on fishery management in ASEAN, there are many Best Practices examples that cam be compared and contrasted with national needs for Sustainable Fishery Management and Food Security.

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