The sole Pacific representative appointed to the recently formed Global Ocean Commission says reforming international fisheries governance and management is one of the goals of the new body.
The former UIu of Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Foua Toloa, is one of 17 commissioners on the panel formed earlier this year to restore a healthy ocean and sustainable productivity.
The Minister of Energy told Bridget Tunnicliffe he is in the process of meeting with Pacific leaders before the Commission's third meeting in Oxford, UK, at the end of November to discuss concerns they have.
FOUA TOLOA: Prime ministers and ministers and also stakeholders that are interested in the ocean, that have a lot to do with the ocean. Virtually anyone at the government level.
BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: Given Pacific nations depend more than most on a healthy ocean, do you think the other commissioners recognise that? Do they understand how important it is to the Pacific?
FT: It is, of course, very important. The Pacific makes up a huge percentage of the ocean. And I think the thing we are trying to establish here is the voice of the Pacific and, hence, the reason for the outrage, this particular outrage, to actually speak to all the leaders of the Pacific. And not only that organisations that have mandates in the Pacific to look after our oceans, not only the management, even the enforcement and so on.
BT: What is the specific focus of the oxford meeting?
FT: The specific focus of the Oxford meeting is to actually continue on building the momentum that was picked up earlier this year in the Cape Town meeting. It is important for us to actually address the issues that have been raised not only by the ocean stakeholders, but also government. So we have identified about nine, ten areas that are critical. But also looking at the main problems associated with the oceans - one, eliminating the harmful subsidies that are incentives for unsustainable fishing practices on the high seas, [and, two] supporting developing countries' efforts to end illegal and unregulated fishing. This is dealing with the problems that we are facing currently, even looking at reform of international fisheries governance and management. Also, the elimination of pollution and the effect that it has on the high seas. We're also looking at developing a proposal for MPA in affected areas and other conservation tools. And I think one of the proposals is to mobilise ocean governance to provide certainty and also equity and accountabiliy for current and new actitivies on the high seas, especially looking at minerals, because the next trend is going to be sea-bed mining.