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International Meeting to Combat Illegal Fishing

CHILE - Official delegations from over twenty countries participated in the 11th meeting of the Management Committee of the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance.

An entity, recognised by the United Nations Organisation for Food and Agriculture, FAO, was driven by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2000 and seeks to combat and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) worldwide.

The event lasted three days, and one of its main objectives wass to define the strategy that the agency will use to include new countries, especially those underrepresented regions (IMCS Network currently has over 80 affiliated countries).

This was explained Michele Kuruc its interim president, who said in his inaugural address that "we are here to decide the direction to take the Network Here's developed and developing, but all share the same challenges with respect to illegal fishing , unreported and unregulated fishing."

Mr Kuruc said illegal fishing (IUU, for short) represents a business worth billions of dollars around the world, "and this is only the economic aspect, because this activity involves also severe damage to the ecosystem and as coastal communities associated with it."

Therefore, another purpose of the meeting was to establish a strategic plan to enable member countries to improve the dissemination and awareness to their respective authorities and the public about the importance of this issue, in order to achieve better international policies, more research and greater resources to combat and eradicate illegal fishing.

The National Director of Fishing, Ana Maria Urrutia, stressed the achievements of the monitoring network in 12 years, since its inception at a meeting convened by Sernapesca in January 2000 and gathered on that occasion twenty countries. These milestones include the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (accepted by most countries), the International Action Plan and "Binding Agreement of Port State Control, which is now a law of our Republic."

"The international network unites nations with a common threat: illegal fishing. Success can not be achieved acting alone, but requires a partnership of nations that wish to maintain a strong and united international front," said Ms Urrutia.

Lucy Towers

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