Bycatch tackled at Coral Triangle meeting

Recommendations surfaced at the inaugural Coral Triangle Fishers Forum, which wrapped up on Thursday, offering a wide range of initiatives to help solve the problem of bycatch and other destructive fishing practices in the region.

Held in Bali, Indonesia, the three-day conference brought together fishing communities, seafood companies and government officials.

The recommendations included the removal of tariffs on product caught using eco-friendly fishing gear, establishing partnerships with academic institutions to raise awareness of sustainable fishing and, perhaps most importantly, to raise awareness on the best fishing practice for new generations of fishermen. The recommendations will be made to members of the Secretariat of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI).

“This first-ever fishers forum has created a collaborative platform for fishers to start working closely together to solve bycatch and secure a more sustainable and equitable future for the fishing industry in this region,” said Keith Symington, bycatch strategy leader for the World Wildlife Fund’s Coral Triangle Program.

“It is encouraging to see fishers in this region, big and small, recognizing the urgent need to transform their practices and cooperate with key players across the entire supply chain to ensure the health of ocean resources and, ultimately, the future of their businesses,” added Symington.

The Coral Triangle encompasses some 6 million square kilometers of the Indian and Pacific oceans and includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

The Fishers Forum was organized by the WWF and Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs in partnership with the South East Asian Fisheries Development Center. Funding for the meeting was provided by German retailer Edaka, which has pledged to source 100 percent of its seafood from sustainable sources by 2012.

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