Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 30th, 2007 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Cedric Liburd is spearheading the formation of a new global body of parliamentarians committed to the principle of the sustainable use of the world’s marine resources.
Minister Liburd, who is in Anchorage, Alaska, attending the 59th International Whaling Conference (IWC) said that the organization would focus its attention on global fisheries development and the utilisation of fish to guarantee food, security, especially in developing countries.
International journalist Tony Best in a report for Hardbeatnews in New York noted that while the impetus for this new global body came on the margins of the annual conference of the International Whaling Commission, first in St. Kitts and Nevis last year, it seems to be moving forward at the current 59th IWC meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, this week.
Minister Liburd, who is chairman of a working group that is drawing up plans for the proposed body of parliamentarians, told a session of parliamentarians and the fisheries experts of like-minded countries, that the creation of the new entity was vital to the effort designed to promote sustainable use of marine resources globally.It is not simply about whales but marine resources across the board. “The objective is really to make sure that we have a group of parliamentarians who would look at the sustainable development of our marine resources around the world,” said Minister Liburd, who added:
“We are seeking to establish a communicator to carry our message throughout the world. We believe that sustainable use is the way to go and feel that this principled position is the one on which we need to move forward.”
According to Minister Liburd: “By sustainable use we are talking about preventing any depletion of our marine resources while encouraging their utilisation in a responsible way, especially for food. We must use science in making decisions and that would give us the assurance that when a catch of fish is made there is more there for succeeding generations who must benefit from the earth’s resources.”
A range of countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific have lodged their support for the parliamentary group. Included among them are Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Cambodia, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Gambia, Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire, Korea, Iceland, Morocco, Japan, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mali, Mauritania, Tuvalu, Mongolia, Norway, Kiribati, Togo, Senegal and St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We strongly support this effort,” said Nao Thuok, director-general of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration in Phnom Penh. “We are a fishing nation and it is important that we encourage the responsible use of fishing resources so that we can feed our people where ever they are. People in Cambodia eat fish or are engaged in fishing almost everyday. Such a parliamentary association can help preserve our resources while using them for food. Fish is essential to the diet of the people of Cambodia and we wish that to remain. That’s why we are backing the proposed group.”
Interestingly, the potential member-states of the parliamentary body belong to the pro-whaling or pro-sustainable use group within the IWC and regularly vote for the resumption sustainable use of the world’s whale stocks. In essence, they of resumption of a limited form of commercial whaling among species whose stocks, according to IWC marine scientists, are robust and not in danger of being depleted.