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Clear waters, clear hearts: Now is the time for more transparency in our oceans

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Last month, leaders from around the world gathered in New York City for the United Nations’ Ocean Conference. The UN Ocean Conference was an opportunity for countries to discuss how we will implement one of the organization’s key conservation goals — how to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

As Peru’s vice minister of fisheries and aquaculture, I came to the UN Ocean Conference to announce a major new transparency measure we are undertaking to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable management of our marine resources.

{mosads}Peru is making its national vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch, an organization that provides the first global view of commercial fishing activity. Global Fishing Watch already uses public broadcast data collected by satellite and terrestrial receivers to show the movement of vessels over time and identify fishing activity. The addition of our government’s data to the platform will provide the world with an even clearer view of fishing activity in our oceans.


We are also pleased to have been joined by Indonesia, which fulfilled a similar transparency commitment the country made in 2015. Indonesia’s vessel tracking data is now public and available for the first time through Global Fishing Watch.

Peru has a major role to play in the process of responsible oceans management. It might surprise you to learn that we are one of the largest fishing nations. When measured by weight, more fish are usually caught in Peruvian fisheries than anywhere else on the planet. Much of this catch comes from one of the tiniest fish in the sea: the Peruvian anchoveta. Because we are such a major fishing nation, the actions we take in Peru are important for the sustainability of the world´s fisheries.

Peru has undertaken this commitment because transparency is absolutely vital to effective, sustainable fisheries management. Seeing what is occurring in our oceans is the first step toward fighting illegal fishing. Tools like Global Fishing Watch are removing the mysteries of commercial fishing activity — what happens over the horizon is no longer out of sight. Increased transparency leads to accountability for the fishing industry, the government and everyone else responsible for the stewardship of our extraordinary marine resources.

We are working with stakeholders — industry groups, nonprofits like Oceana and others — to achieve the sustainable management of our fisheries because fish play an important role in human nutrition and global food security. Worldwide, ocean fish accounts for 8 percent of all animal protein consumed by humans. Fish provide micronutrients that are essential to human health, including iron, zinc, vitamins A and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. And the economic activity of finding, catching, and raising fish provides critical nutrition and income for hundreds of millions of people each year.Our oceans are our shared responsibility. They provide food and jobs for people, and responsible management ensures that they will continue to do so for decades to come.

Our oceans are our shared responsibility. They provide food and jobs for people, and responsible management ensures that they will continue to do so for decades to come.

In Peru, we continue to work toward healthier oceans to make this future possible. Today, we encourage the rest of the world to do the same.

Retired Admiral Héctor Soldi graduated from the Naval Academy of Peru in 1973 and has an M.S. in Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is the vice minister of fisheries and aquaculture for Peru. 

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Aquaculture Environmental impact of fishing Fisheries Fisheries law Fisheries management Fisheries science Fishing Fishing industry Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing Natural environment Ocean Sustainable fisheries Sustainable food system

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