Oceans Summit calls for action against overfishing, pollution

On the fourth and final day of the Global Oceans Action Summit here Friday, the delegates agreed that action on a global scale is needed to tackle overfishing, climate change and pollution of the oceans.

Global leaders, ocean practitioners, scientists, and representatives from government, business, civil society and international organisations from around 80 countries and regions came together to discuss solutions for a cleaner ocean and food security from April 22-25 in The Hague, Xinhua reported.

On the last day of the conference they issued a joint statement.

"We have the solutions for sustainable fisheries and blue growth in our own hands and now it is a matter of putting this into action on a global scale, and this action starts today."

Ten cross-boundary partnerships were announced between nations and businesses. In general the leaders agreed to stop overfishing and to eliminate overcapacity, that subsidies should be used for sustainable fisheries only, that illegal fisheries must be banned and that regional agreements are needed with businesses to achieve this.

In addition, the delegates said to accelerating the ratification of agreed mechanisms for improved fisheries practices, that the impact of climate change on the oceans should be recognised and that the oceans must be a special focus in the United Nations Sustainability Objectives.

Sharon Dijksma, the Dutch state secretary for economic affairs and chair of the summit, was satisfied with the results.

"This week the world didn't just show courage," she said. "It showed especially that it's ready for action to tackle overfishing, climate change and pollution. That is exactly what the world needs right now, as only then will fish and healthy oceans still be able to provide for hundreds of millions of people after 2030."

"This summit has put an accent on action and the route to navigate on oceans, fisheries management and aquaculture is much clearer than before," reacted Arni Mathiesen, assistant director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The Global Oceans Action Summit was organised by the Dutch government in collaboration with the FAO, the World Bank and the governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Mauritius, Norway and the US. The next summit will be held in Washington June 16-17 this year.

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