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Joint Ministerial Statement

Regional Ministerial Meeting on Promoting Responsible Fishing Practices
including Combating IUU Fishing in the Region

Bali-Indonesia, 4th May 2007

  1. Ministers and their Representatives responsible for fisheries of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam, hereinafter referred to as the Ministers, met on 4th May 2007, in Bali, Indonesia. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Freddy Numberi, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, and Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation of Australia. The meeting was also attended by a representative of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO);
  2. The Ministers agreed on a common and collaborative approach to promote responsible fishing practices and to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the region, in particular, in the South China Sea, the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas, and the Arafura-Timor Seas;
  3. The Ministers reaffirmed their common understanding that the shared fish stocks in the region are a very important source of food for people in the region, and are also traded to countries outside the region, and noted that overfishing and illegal fishing activities are seriously depleting the fish stocks of the region;
  4. The Ministers agreed that regional cooperation amongst countries to promote responsible fishing practices and to combat illegal fishing is essential, particularly in order to sustain fisheries resources, ensure food security, alleviate poverty and to optimise the benefits to the people and economies in the region;
  5. The Ministers also agreed there is a need to take collective action to enhance and strengthen the overall level of conservation and management, and to work towards preventing, deterring and eliminating IUU fishing in the region, to ensure sustainable use of fisheries resources in the areas of the South China Sea, the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas and the Arafura-Timor Seas;
  6. The Ministers emphasized that a number of existing international instruments on promoting long term sustainable fisheries should be considered when implementing responsible fishing practices, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, the FAO Compliance Agreement, the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and a number of FAO’s International Plans of Action;
  7. The Ministers welcomed the progress achieved in the development of a Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices including Combating IUU Fishing in the Region (RPOA) as a regional commitment to conserve and manage fisheries resources and the environment in the areas of the South China Sea, Sulu-Sulawesi Seas and Arafura-Timor Seas. In this regard, the Ministers endorsed the RPOA;
  8. The Ministers agreed, with a view to fostering the ongoing efforts and the development of the cooperative arrangements embodied in the RPOA, to establish a Coordination Committee that will monitor and review the effective implementation of the measures of the RPOA;
  9. The Ministers further recognized the management expertise and technical capacity that has been developed by regional and multilateral organisations, such as the: FAO, FAO/Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission, ASEAN Fisheries Working Group, Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, INFOFISH, South East Asian Fisheries Development Center and WorldFish Center, and further acknowledged the important roles of these organisations in strengthening fisheries management and conservation in the region. The Ministers agreed that continued support and participation in these organisations is important. The Ministers further agreed to encourage these organizations to provide assistance to the implementation of conservation and management measures in the region;
  10. The Ministers expressed appreciation to the Government of Indonesia and the Government of Australia for promoting this initiative, including their hosting of the Regional Senior Official Meetings (the SOMs) and the Regional Ministerial Meeting. The SOMs were held in Jakarta on 29-30 November 2006, in Canberra on 22-23 March 2007 and in Bali on 2-3 May 2007. The SOMs were attended by: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, People’s Republic of China, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. The SOMs were also attended by Representatives of FAO and INFOFISH.