District Court Judge, Lei’ataualesa Daryl Clarke is in Honiara, Solomon Islands, this week.
He is representing Samoa at the Forum Fisheries Agency’s (F.F.A.) Judicial Conference, which started on Monday. He is joined by Chief Justices, High Court Judges and Magistrates from other Pacific countries.
The conference was opened by the F.F.A’s Director General, James Movick, who highlighted the importance of the gathering.
“We Pacific Islanders have been blessed with stewardship of resources within vast ocean jurisdictions. With that privilege comes the responsibility of ensuring the sustainable conservation and management, as well as utilisation, of such resources,” he said.
“Honourable Judges, the timing of this Conference is propitious. Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing continues to be an ongoing challenge in our region. It undermines all conservation and management efforts and robs our people of important revenue.
“However, the F.F.A. has just completed a Ministerial review of our fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance mechanisms, as tasked by our Forum Leaders.
“The Ministers undertaking the review welcomed the tools and work towards combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (I.U.U. Fishing) in our region, and noted the current work to develop further technologies and tools to this end. It is crucial that all who may come across current and emerging technologies in their work have the opportunity to discuss and fully understand such technologies.”
“One of the inputs to that Ministerial Review was an independent study that has more reliably analysed and quantified the nature and extent of I.U.U. fishing in the F.F.A. member region.
“That study revealed that the value of product associated with some form of I.U.U. fishing in our region is US$616 million (T$1.41billion), of which about $123 million (T$282.9m) is lost economic rent – or money that could have come to P.I.C. treasuries.
“While this scale of I.U.U. and its economic impact on P.I.Cs is significantly less than had previously been estimated, it nonetheless is still a sizeable amount and we must continue to efficiently utilise our current monitoring, control and surveillance tools as well as keep improving or progressing new and innovative methods to combat I.U.U. Fishing.”
According to Mr. Movick, F.F.A. recognises the lead role by the Judiciary in interpreting the law and administering justice according to the law.
“As we improve on our current technologies and develop new technologies we need to be sure that our legal frameworks to utilize those technologies are up to date and sound,” said Mr. Movick.
“We welcome your discussions from your own expert perspectives on such technologies.Your comments, insights and questions will assist us to help our members to develop suitable national legislature and regulations that underpin the successful application of these new tools to successful protection of our sovereign rights and laws.
“We welcome the opportunity for an enhanced understanding of such technologies by this high-level forum, and your elucidation of issues that we should consider.”