This was the core message delivered personally by the country’s Minister of fisheries, Dr. Timothy Harris in his presentation to the 3rd ACP meeting of fisheries Ministers, that took place in Nadi Fiji.
He told delegates “Our fisheries and Aquaculture have tremendous potential but limits on our resources in the areas like manpower, capacity, physical infrastructure, legal frameworks, training and education have constrained us to mere artisanal fisheries at the periphery.”
He said that his country welcomes the discussion on the conception of partnership in the context of fisheries contribution and potential to food security and nutrition, poverty alleviation and broader growth and improved welfare of his people.
“St. Kitts and Nevis wants to be equal partners, as we develop and implement the 5 year strategic plan, but we must look beyond the conception of south-south cooperation as important as this is to north–south cooperation on such issues as capacity building, trade facilitation, investment in monitoring and control for illegal unreported and unregulated fishing” Harris said
Dr. Harris is accompanied by Marc Williams, Director of Marine Resources. While in Fiji, Dr. Harris also held talks with the ACP Secretary General Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas and Mr. Joketani Cokanasiga, Fiji Minister for Fisheries.
The Third meeting of the ACP Ministers responsible for fisheries was held in Nadi(Fiji) on18 June 2012, addressing the theme of Partnerships for sustainable development of the fisheries sector in ACP countries.
The meeting provided an opportunity for ACP Ministers responsible for fisheries to invigorate the ACP Ministerial Fisheries Mechanism by adopting a 5 year Strategic Plan of Action.
The Strategic Plan of Action sets in place following five strategic Priority areas for future action:
- Effective Management for Sustainable Fisheries
- Promoting Optimal Returns from Fisheries Trade
- Supporting Food Security in ACP Countries
- Developing Aquaculture
- Maintaining the Environment
The Plan also sets the scene for developing new partnerships for development, exchange of expertise, and trade.
Ministers reiterated their concern about continuing threats to fisheries, in particular, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, and piracy.
The potential for development of aquaculture in ACP States was highlighted; Ministers urged ACP States to provide an enabling environment to realize the potential for increased aquaculture production.
Reflecting the special requirements of ACP small developing coastal states, Ministers urged Distant Water Fishing Nations to transfer their regional fishing effort to these states to avoid excess fishing capacity.
The Meeting welcomed opportunities for optimising returns from fisheries, including prospects for adding value to fisheries production in ACP countries.