Nassau, The Bahamas (ACP).- Ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries concluded two days of comprehensive talks on 20-21 September with a renewed commitment to developing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in their countries, as well as unlocking the potential of the ‘blue economy’ through a new €40 million “ACP Blue Growth Initiative”.
The 5th ACP Meeting of Ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture was opened by the Prime Minister of The Bahamas Dr. The Hon. Hubert A. Minnis at the Melia Hotel Conference Centre in Nassau, The Bahamas. More than 150 delegates from at least 60 fish-exporting countries and regions gathered to strategise on how to enhance the role of fisheries and aquaculture in their national socio-economic development.
“The ACP Group remains determined to play a catalytic role to enhance the sustainable flow of benefits from the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for development of our countries. To this end, it is necessary to enhance capacity building activities, deepen our policy analysis and continuously explore ways to secure funding from our partners for this purpose,” said ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes, reaffirming the important role of the sector in ensuring food and nutrition security, livelihoods, and revenues for ACP states.
In the effort to stimulate development of the ‘blue economy’ – which engages a large range of marine-related activities, in environmentally sustainable ways – ministers agreed to allocate €40 million from the Intra-ACP envelope of the European Development Fund (EDF) to the ACP Blue Growth Initiative. Launched during the meeting, the Blue Growth Initiative is aligned to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and seeks to boost productivity and competitiveness of fisheries and aquaculture value chains.
In a final declaration adopted by the meeting, ministers also detailed accelerated measures to be taken in order to combat Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, promote effective fisheries management, support small scale fisheries, address the issue of fisheries subsidies at the World Trade Organisation, and strengthen aquaculture production.
Ministers pledged their commitment to the ACP Strategic Plan of Action for Fisheries and Aquaculture, which helps countries to coordinate and cooperate on joint actions. They highlighted the need for stronger partnerships, more funding opportunities, as well as South-South and Triangular Cooperation to catalyse progress.
Ministers also emphasised the urgent need to intensify efforts to mobilise financial resources, accelerate technology transfer and build human and institutional capacity in ACP countries to achieve these measures. The declaration called on development partners and the ACP Secretariat to give priority attention to this issue.
Finally, it was agreed that the 6th ACP Meeting of Ministers in charge of Fisheries of Aquaculture be held in Apia, Samoa in 2019.