FFCMIN14: "Fiji is committed" to finalising Tokelau Arrangement- calls for consensus, solidarity on issues that matter (STATEMENT)

Fiiji's Country statement at FFCMIN Opening Plenary delivered by Hon. Semi Koroilavesau
(SALUTATIONS)--  Chair, I would like to congratulate you for your Chairmanship and thank the Australian government and its people for hosting the 102nd Forum Fisheries
Committee Meeting and this years Ministerial Meeting. To my fellow honorable Ministers, Fisheries Officials, the FFA secretariat and Observers, "Bula Vinaka and Good morning to you all."
At the outset, I would like to reiterate Fiji's commitment in taking the lead and working collaboratively with regional partners to ensure the we continue to work together in
combating IUU and ensuring sustainability of our resources, our fleets and ensuring that there is always fish available for our future generation.
Additionally, Fiji believes in regional solidarity and would continue to work with members to move issues and concerns through through broader concesus. While having said this, it is important to note the complexities involved in doing so.
Chair, you may have noted Fiji's role during the the UN Oceans Conference. This signifies Fiji's commitment. Currently, we are looking to work with FFA members and the FFA to let everyone know of our intentions and commitments in achieving our fisheries goal, whether this be our national or regional goals.
In light to this, Fiji over the past have continued to work towards the domestication of its fleet. This is similar to aspirations developed through out the region as we work towards
taking ownership of our resources.
Additionally while we build national capacity in terms of MCS and combating IUU, it is important to note that the domestication of fleets and industry is pinnacle. It gives us
control over our fleets and more importantly the resource that we collabratively work closely to sustain. Chair at this juncture, I would like to highlight the limits faced by FFA members. Issues such as the lack of national administrators, the pressure from 'Distant water fishing nations' and also conflicting issues within our different administrations.
Moreover, the issue of disproportionate burden is something that we also would have to address. While having to said that, it is important that we as FFA members be willing to
'meet half way.' This ensure that while we push for our national interest forward, we do not spend too much time trying to find consensus while on the other hand, we lose out on
immediate decisions that needs to be addressed.
Chair, while having said that, Fiji is committed to continue to work with our partners to ensure that our goals are achieved. Whether it be playing our part in finalising the Tokelau
Agreement, strengethening our roles as flag and port state or resource sustainability in general. "Fiji is committed."
With those remarks, I look forward to a fruitful discussion and interaction with fellow Ministers and officials. Vinaka--ENDS