SEAFDEC and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) agreed to work together to design and implement activities to enhance food security and biodiversity conservation in Asia and the Pacific. The memorandum of understanding signed on 16 June 2014 by SEAFDEC Secretary-General Chumnarn Pongsri and USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia Director Michael Yates, reflects SEAFDEC’s and USAID’s intention to collaborate in the design, implementation and evaluation of USAID-funded sustainable fisheries activities. In addition, USAID and SEAFDEC plan to engage with other U.S. Government agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Interior, to identify technical experts to assist in the facilitation of the envisioned activities.
“The United States and the countries of Southeast Asia share a common vision of our oceans as global treasures, a source of food and energy, and a foundation for our way of life,” U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney said at the signing ceremony, which coincided with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s June 16-17 “Our Ocean” Conference in Washington, DC. “Our oceans provide jobs and attract tourism. They provide a habitat for countless species. They are vital to our nations’ transportation, economy, and trade, linking us with countries across the globe.”
“Collaboration with USAID would build upon the existing cooperation between SEAFDEC and the ASEAN Member States by generating technical grounds to support development of science and market-based policy and encourage fishing practices and related activities that would be undertaken in a responsible and sustainable manner, including traceability of fishery products,” said Secretary-General Pongsri.
They also intend to convene an ad hoc consultative committee to advance a unified regional, sustainable and responsible fisheries agenda with participation from relevant regional organizations such as ASEAN, the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security and the Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices including Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in the Region.