Torremolinos Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing (closing of Ministerial Segment)


Torremolinos, Málaga, Spain, 21 October

Madam President, Ambassador Thomson, esteemed Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Ambassadors, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Today we have been privileged to hear from you about the need for the entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement. 

We have listened carefully, and we recognize your strong commitment to join the fight against unsafe, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

We take heed of the key messages from the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson, who spoke about the importance of fisheries in a global perspective and the need to take global action to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals.  

We have heard the perspectives of our sister UN agencies, FAO and UNCTAD.

There can be no doubt, as they have underlined, that the health and safety of the men and women that fish on the high seas, the sustainable use of fishing resources, and action against marine plastic litter from discarded fishing gear as well as the end of IUU fishing can only be achieved by a collaborative effort among the United Nations and its specialized agencies, Governments and international organizations.

Earlier today we watched the impressive informative video produced by the Pew Charitable Trusts, who I would like to thank for their support and contribution.   

Ministers, you have provided us with your wise advice on high-level policy matters. Many of you have highlighted the benefits of implementing a mandatory safety regime for fishing vessels, which will lead to reduced fatalities, improved working conditions, reduction of marine pollution, in particular marine plastic litter, increased protection of the pristine polar waters, expanded enforcement measures to combat IUU fishing and reduced risks for search and rescue services.  

You have also highlighted the urgent need for the entry into force of the Agreement and reflected on the efforts towards this important goal.

I would like to express my profound appreciation to the representatives of the States which are signatories to the Agreement – we heard from His Excellency, Mr. Sigurdur Ingi Jóhannsson, the Minister of Transport and Local Government of Iceland and Her Excellency, Ms. Hannah Sumeja Atic, the State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.  

I have no doubt that their early ratification and support of the Agreement, as well as their messages, have encouraged other States to consider taking timely action to bring the 2012 Cape Town Agreement into force.

Distinguished delegates,

Once again, I would like to thank all speakers for joining us here today and devoting their valuable time towards fulfilling one of the main goals of this Conference:  the entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement as early as possible.  

I am extremely pleased to announce that, following this closing ceremony, a number of countries will, on the invitation of the Government of Spain, sign the Torremolinos Declaration on the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 to publicly indicate their Government's determination to ratify the Agreement by the tenth anniversary of its adoption.  

You will now hear from His Excellency Minister Mr. Abalos of Spain, after which all distinguished delegates will be welcome to join the ceremony here in this room and observe the signing of the Declaration, along with the States that have already indicated their intention to do so.

Before I hand over the floor to His Excellency, I would like to express IMO's profound gratitude to Spain's Secretary-General of Transport, Ms. María José Rallo del Olmo, for serving as the President of the Ministerial Segment and, once again, I would like to sincerely thank the Government of Spain for hosting the reception tonight, following the signing ceremony.

Thank you.