25 Sep 2017

PNG leader laments declining health of oceans

5:16 pm on 25 September 2017

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister has conveyed deep concern over the declining health of the world's oceans.

PNG PM Peter O'Neill

PNG PM Peter O'Neill Photo: AFP / Peter Parks

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Peter O'Neill said global fish stocks were being decimated and ecosystems destroyed by human activity.

He said while Pacific countries were feeling the greatest impacts, the problem was of global relevance that required greater global action.

"We share growing concerns over the declining health of our oceans and seas that sustain so many nations. Uncontrolled and poorly regulated human activities, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, pollutants and plastics and of course marine debris are killing our waterways."

Mr O'Neill said many PNG communities were being forces to abandon their traditional homes because the decline of ocean health means loss of food and livelihoods for them.

According to him, PNG is doing what it can to address the problem - an integrated national oceans policy has sought a coherent cross-agency approach to ocean governance.

But he stressed the need for more action on reducing harmful human activities in relation to oceans.

Mr O'Neill welcomed the first-ever Oceans Conference in support of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on conservation and sustainable use of oceans.

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