Jakarta (ANTARA) - Representatives of APEC economies are aiming to raise global public awareness on combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in order to reduce poverty and food insecurity.

IUU fishing has undermined the region`s food security, according to the APEC`s Oceans and Fisheries Working Group in a written statement received here on Saturday.

"Illegal fishing takes money out of the hands of those playing by the rules. It takes food out of people`s mouths. It undermines the governments` efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries," Patrick Moran, Lead Shepherd for APEC`s Oceans and Fisheries Working Group, stated.

The fisheries industry is a global juggernaut, valued at US$144 billion annually. Small-scale fishing accounts for 90 percent of the sector, which feeds more than 50 percent of the population of developing countries, including in the Asia-Pacific region.

However, 20 percent of the fish captured globally is lost to IUU fishing that exacerbates food insecurity and poverty, robs families of income, and undermines attempts at sustainable fisheries, while also encouraging crime.

Hence, Chile hosting APEC for 2019 has declared its commitment to improving the health of oceans -- that includes addressing marine debris as well as the fisheries sector -- as one of its priorities.

Multiple instruments, binding and non-binding, are available to rein in IUU fishing, but execution of treaties can be improved and require supportive policy and legal implementing frameworks.

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Better monitoring and tracing of fishing-related vessels, including refrigerated transport vessels, can also help rein in illegal activity. APEC can help its economies prepare the tools to achieve these goals.

"APEC can harness its great power to help its economies. The greatest enemies of IUU fishing are communication and collaboration, because the fish have to be sold. If there is illegal fishing somewhere in APEC, it can be communicated to everyone in the region, so action can be taken. The idea is to deny market access. We can help develop the tools (for this) and help the economies implement those tools," Moran stated.

Editing by Rahmad Nasution

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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