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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2013

Agenda item: 76(B) Sustainable Fisheries

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr Jim McLay, Permanent Representative of New Zealand 9 December 2013


Mr President –

My delegation is pleased to join many others in co-sponsoring the draft resolution “Oceans and the law of the sea”, just introduced by Trinidad and Tobago; and we complement Ambassador Eden Charles on his careful stewardship of that draft. 

New Zealand also had the honour of coordinating the informal consultations on the draft resolution on sustainable fisheries, and is pleased now to introduce that text on behalf of all its sponsors.

That draft resolution once again addresses important issues, such as –

For the first time, this year’s draft resolution also recognises the need to tackle the causes of ocean acidification, and to implement strategies to minimise its impacts on marine ecosystems. Particular focus is given to the impact of acidification on the ability of certain organisms to build shells and skeletal structures, and the threats this could pose to food security.

Mr President –

A number of key outcomes from other fora, both regional and global, were considered in this draft resolution.

For instance, the recent listing of five shark species and two species of manta ray in Appendix Two of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); and the draft resolution encourages States, where appropriate, to cooperate in establishing non-detriment findings for shared stocks listed in the CITES appendices.

The draft resolution touches on a number of issues related to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This reflects the international community’s on-going concern with IUU fishing, and its impact on our ability sustainably to manage fish stocks. Coastal States, Flag States, Port States and Market States all have critical roles to play in the fight against IUU fishing.

In this regard, the draft resolution recognises participative surveillance activities in West Africa, and efforts to ensure greater transparency in reporting on the activities of charter vessels in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

The draft resolution also calls on States to initiate work, within the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to elaborate guidelines and relevant criteria relating to Catch Documentation Schemes including possible formats.

Mr President –

The draft resolution continues to recognise the central role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement in the regulation of international fisheries. The tenth round of informal consultations of States Parties to the Fish Stocks Agreement will be held in April next year; and the draft resolution notes that this meeting will, among other matters, consider the regional, sub-regional and global implementation of the Fish Stocks Agreement, and initial preparatory work for the resumption of the Review Conference. That consultation will be an important step in ensuring that all the foundations are in place for a successful Review Conference.

Mr President –

New Zealand thanks Director Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli and the staff of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea for their expertise and support on both draft resolutions.

And, again, we thank Ambassador Eden Charles of Trinidad and Tobago for his expert coordination of the draft resolution on oceans and the law of the sea.

I also express my appreciation for the hard work and co-operation of delegations in crafting both draft resolutions.  It is our hope that this constructive and collaborative engagement is maintained, as we continue to address the numerous and complex issues that face our oceans and our fisheries.

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:03 NZDT