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U.S. Secretary of State announces the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership project

US-secretary-John-KerryOn 6 August 2015 at the 22nd ASEAN Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Oceans and Fisheries Partnership project with an initial commitment of $4.3 million that will combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The catch documentation and traceability system established by USAID Oceans will improve the transparency of Asia’s seafood supply chains, ensuring that fish is legally and sustainably harvested,” said Secretary Kerry. “Traceability is an essential part of our global fight to conserve marine resources and protect the health of our oceans.”

USAID is partnering with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) to strengthen regional, sustainable fisheries management by developing an electronic catch documentation and traceability system to track species at a high risk of being illegally traded or mislabeled. This system will harness the latest science, technology and innovation to ensure that fish, shrimp and other marine resources are legally caught and properly labeled. Eliminating IUU fishing, which undermines efforts to conserve and manage shared fish stocks, will level the playing field for legitimate fishers and ensure the sustainability of our shared ocean resources.

“Combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Asia and the Pacific is vital to conserve the region’s incomparable and irreplaceable marine resources,” said Todd Sorenson, Acting Mission Director for the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia. “The efforts of USAID Oceans, SEAFDEC, the CTI, and their partners will have positive impacts on livelihoods, food security and economic growth in the region.”

It is estimated that over 200 million people in Asia are directly or indirectly dependent on fisheries resources for food and income. Nearly half of the people in Southeast Asia get more than 20 percent of their animal protein from fish. The Coral Triangle, which spans six Southeast Asian and Pacific countries, contains one of the greatest concentrations of marine biodiversity in the world. USAID Oceans works to restore and protect marine and coastal ecosystems while also providing sustainable harvests of fish to local communities.

(Source: USAID Press Office)