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Marshalls urges G7 leaders to help address illegal fishing in Pacific

SUVA (Pacnews) — The Marshall Islands has asked Canada to convene relevant G7 and Pacific Island Ministers meeting before the end of the year, to urgently discuss illegal fishing in the Pacific.

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine made the call in her statement at last week’s G7 meeting in Canada’s city of Quebec where she met with leaders from the world’s seven largest and advanced economies in the world.

Hilda Heine

“Fisheries are our economic future. Yet even though the Pacific Island region controls over half of the world’s tuna stock, we benefit from only a tiny fraction of the overall economic activity,” she said.

“Overall $660 million of illegal fishing occurs every year in our waters — a quarter of our fishery,” said President Heine.

She told G7 leaders, “The countries behind this illegal fishing are picking our pockets and your pockets too.”

“For a small economy like ours, this is beyond theft. We strongly urge the G7 to take decisive and effective action against the culprits.”

The Marshall Islands leader also used her intervention to call on the G7 countries to ban single use and marine plastics, which plague the waters and shores of the Pacific.

She said her small island nation and a growing number of Pacific countries have already banned plastic shopping bags.

“But it’s not enough. We must accelerate global action on a problem that is slowly choking us all,” she added.