On the margins of the World Ocean Summit in Bali this week, the Solomon Islands Delegation, led by Hon. John Maneniaru, received the official announcement from Mr Karmemu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, of the Commission’s decision to lift the yellow card from Solomon Islands.
This decision was reached due to Solomon Islands significant progress in its fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the. Solomon Islands Delegation heard.
In his response to Commissioner Vella’s announcement, Minister Maneniaru, said the lifting of the yellow card is a great achievement for Sol0mon Islands and one that he is pleased to accept wholeheartedly.
He expressed gratitude to the Commission for recognizing the significant progress Solomon Islands has made in her fight against IUU fishing.
“Since December 2014, we have been resolved ourselves to carry out reforms to put in place the necessary administrative and the legal frameworks in line with international law to fight IUU fishing. We have indeed equipped ourselves and we will continue our fight against IUU”, said Minister Maneniaru.
He assured Commissioner Vella that the lifting of the yellow card is not the end of Solomon Islands’ commitment in fighting against IUU fishing but rather an achievement that will fuel her commitment to continue to fight against IUU fishing. “Our fight is platformed on the fact that our fisheries must be sustainable. Reduction of IUU fishing contributes to the increased sustainability of our resources and ecosystems. As an island nation, Solomon Islands cannot afford to risk the sustainability of its fisheries resources and ecosystems to IUU. To do, means simply the removal of our future”, the Minister told Commissioner Vella and his delegation.
In thanking those who have provided support and guidance over the last 2 years in the Ministry’s endeavor to address the IUU issues, the Minister said the achievement today belongs to Solomon Islands IUU Team that consist of officers both in Honiara and in Noro from Ministry of Fisheries, the Competent Authority of the Ministry of Health, Customs and the Solomon Islands tuna Industry, particularly SolTuna. This team has worked tirelessly and must be commended.
The Minister also highlighted that today’s (yesterday) achievement would not be possible without the technical expertise provided by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the New Zealand Government through its MSSIF Programme within the Ministry of Fisheries and said that the intended reforms to improve Solomon Islands fisheries governance and putting in place the frameworks that matter, would not have been possible without these technical supports.
Minister of Fisheries Delegation to Bali consists of his Permanent Secretary, Dr Christain Ramofafia, Deputy Director Ms Ronnelle Panda, Solomon Islands’ Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr Salana Kalu and his Third Secretary, Mrs Dalcy Kalu.
-Francis Pituvaka, MFMR Communication Officer