â€“ support livelihood diversification within and outside the sector so that people are less reliant on their fishing or fish farming activity and have different sources of income; â€“ put in place early warning and response systems to extreme events and disasters; â€“ strengthen existing regional coordination mechanisms to be able to accommodate the likely spatial displacement of species and people; â€“ include fisheries and aquaculture in national adaptation plans, national budget and in international climate change negotiations; â€“ increase public investments in research or capacity building; â€“ design fisheries and aquaculture regulations that allow some flexibility so that people can adapt to new environmental conditions. Overall, resilience will be built by addressing the development goals for fishery-dependent people and by investing in improved fisheries and aquaculture management (in particular Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries and Aquaculture), livelihoods and risk reduction initiatives. Achieving the SDGs, including SDG 14, calls for concerted action by national governments and international institutions. Yet the private sector too has much to offer in terms of knowledge and expertise that could contribute to meeting the objectives of the SDGs. In the view of FAO how can the resources of the private sector be drawn on in a more structured way? The private sector plays a key role in the implementation of the many actions that need to be implemented if the SDGs are to be achieved.Â It is therefore positive 64
to see the active engagement of many private seafood companies in the debate on SDG14. In general, FAO has a close and constructive dialogue with the private sector, including through the International Coalition of Fisheries Associations (ICFA), and from active participation in global industry events such as CONXEMAR in Vigo, NASF in Bergen and INFOFISH Tuna in Bangkok. FAO is also working closely with other international institutions such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility to generate more funds to undertake the necessary transformation of the fisheries sector to achieve these goals. Fisheries subsidies are controversial as they sometimes contribute to overcapacity of fishing fleets, which in turn leads to overfishing as well as IUU activities. What is FAOâ€™s position on subsidies and how can they best be tackled, so that they do not distort markets or work against the environmental dimension of the SDGs? Although there is broad consensus in the world community that subsidies that lead to overcapacity and overfishing are harmful and should be regulated, reduced and possibly abolished, to implement this in practice has proven difficult. In fact, the reduction or abolition of these subsidies is part of the mandate for the WTO Doha Round as well as a stated objective in the SDG14 for the 2030 Agenda. FAO, UNEP and UNCTAD issued a declaration on this in 2016 and almost 100 countries have now signed on to this. The implementation of the SDGs is also opening the possibility of linking fishery subsidies issues with sustainability issues, which
will demand increased cooperation between FAO and WTO, and the member countries of both institutions. In addition, overcapacity may also lead to increased IUU activities. On the issue of IUU, we now have a number of tools available to combat these, including the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). On the other hand, the issue of subsidies has proven extremely difficult to solve, not the least because we move into the policy space of sovereign countries who often are at very different stages in the development of their fisheries sector. It is also fair to say that so far the debate has been focused on the impact of subsidies on the sustainability of resources rather than on distortion of trade. On the whole, I am moderately optimistic that a solution will be found. As someone with a long history in the fisheries sector, what attracts you personally to it? What would you say are the long-term prospects for the fishing industry considering challenges such as a lack of interest in fishing among young people, climate change, and over-fished stocks? Coming from a country like Iceland which from its first day of settlement more than 1,000 years ago has always depended on the sea not only for its bare survival but also for its prosperity, it is evident to me that the oceans present huge opportunities to mankind. Since I came to FAO this has become even more obvious as we face on one hand opportunities for increasing the creation of wealth from our fisheries through programmes such as the Blue Growth Initiative; on the other hand, we face the challenge of ensuring sustainable
management of those resources, including in countries or fishing areas where fisheries management for too long has been ineffective. There are also many good stories to tell, and these are not fishermenâ€™s tales. These last years the international community has strengthened its tools in the fight against IUU fishing through the approval of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement, the Catch Documentation Scheme Guidelines and the creation of the Global Record of fishing vessels. Just a few months ago the UN General Assembly approved the creation of an International Day against IUU fishing which we celebrated for the first time this year on June 5. We have already spoken of the tremendous focus on oceans in general through the SDGs and the UN 2030 Agenda and we have new initiatives addressing labour conditions on-board fishing vessels such as the ILO Convention 188 or ongoing work in FAO on social responsibility in the fisheries value-chains. All these initiatives make me optimistic about the future. I am also optimistic about recruitment of more young people. What we see is that in countries where the industry is profitable, it is also able to pay proper wages and attract young people who see a future in the sector. This of course depends again on sustainable management of the resource and policies to reduce overcapacity and overcapitalization. In fact, these principles are very much part of the UN Agenda for 2030 to which the world community has committed itself. FAO is very much part of this process and we are working closely with our member countries and the community at large to achieve this.