Fao and Panama illegal fishing agreement. (Photo: FAO)
IUU: Panama signs agreement with FAO to address illegal fishing
Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 22:20 (GMT + 9)
Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama (ARAP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) signed a cooperation agreement to prevent illegal fishing.
The document will contribute to better sustainable management of fishery resources in the country safeguarding livelihoods, food production for local communities and marine ecosystems, stressed ARAP administrator Zuleika Pinzon.
"The articulation of policies and institutional coordination is the first step to ensuring that the measures intended to stop illegal fishing are effective, as it is required to address this problem from different sectors," said Tito E. Diaz, subregional coordinator of FAO Mesoamerica.
Through this agreement, the global agency will provide technical assistance to Panama for participatory development of a national strategy, and will facilitate cooperation and coordination of regional actions for fisheries and aquaculture development in the countries of the Central America Integration System.
Currently, it is estimated that illegal fishing worldwide amounts to 26 million tons per year, equivalent to about USD 23 billion, with its environmental, social and economic consequences.
Among the most common activities recorded, those that stand out are the operation without proper authorization, the use of clandestine means, the capture of protected species and the breach of the quotas established in that group.
The Cooperation Agreement for Strengthening capacities and measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing aims to strengthen the country’s capacities and measures intended to improve monitoring procedures, surveillance and control.
Panama is one of the countries with the highest fish consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an annual average of 13 kilograms per person, with 95 per cent of the fishing activity that takes place in waters of the Pacific Ocean, where the most strategic products abound: anchovies and herring, marine shrimp, finfish, tuna and spiny lobster.
In the latest FAO Regional Conference, the countries of the region requested assistance to the organization to combat illegal fishing, actions that have already been implemented in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic and now Panama.