Fiji announced their commitment to the conservation and management of all species of sharks and rays and their critical habitats within Fiji waters at the UN Ocean Conference in New York.
This was one of 16 different voluntary commitments to help action Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water now submitted in the UN Ocean Conference Registry.
In order to address the unsustainable mortality and habitat loss, the Ministry of Fisheries of collaboration with key stakeholders will work to put in place legislation that will ensure sustainable populations of Sharks and Rays within Fiji’s territorial waters.
Fiji has taken a leadership role in shark and ray conservation in the Pacific, promoting a strong Pacific voice, especially in international fora. Just last September, Fiji successfully proposed the listing of mobula rays, silky and thresher sharks at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES COP).
In partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) worked closely with officials from both environment and fisheries departments to support these listings leading up to, and at the CITES COP.
“At the outset we congratulate the Government of Fiji for taking action domestically to implement the new CITES listings,” said Leota Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P).
“Their leadership has continued to resonate across the globe with today’s announcement, taking important steps in this voluntary commitment aimed at the conservation and management of all shark and ray populations within its national jurisdiction, which as you know are worth far more to Fiji alive than dead.”
The “Conservation and Management of all Species of Sharks and rays and their Critical Habitats within Fijian Waters” Voluntary Commitments is led by the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Environment of Fiji. This is now listed in the UN Ocean Registry of Voluntary Commitments.
“SPREP and the Pew Charitable Trust stand ready to assist Fiji in any way we can to fully implement these commitments. This includes holding implementation workshops, assisting with outreach activities, and providing the platform to highlight these achievements,” said Mr Luke Warwick, Director Global Shark Conservation, Pew Charitable Trusts.
“SPREP and Pew have been working closely to promote shark and ray conservation throughout the Pacific region by working with SPREP’s member countries. We look forward to working with Fiji and our other member countries to continue this growing momentum for shark and ray conservation in the Pacific region.”