World Fisheries University (WFU) Pilot Programme Opening Ceremony, Pukyong National University

Congratulatory Speech by Lim Ki-tack, (Secretary-General, IMO)
World Fisheries University (WFU) Pilot Programme Opening Ceremony

Pukyong National University, Busan, Republic of Korea
7 September, 2017

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour to be here with you on the occasion of the WFU Pilot Programme Opening Ceremony. I would like to extend my congratulations on the meaningful initiative of the Programme and I am sure that this initiative will greatly contribute to the development of a training and education platform towards a more sustainable fishing industry. 

I would like to highlight a few facts related to fisheries.  Both fisheries and aquaculture play a significant role in the food supply chain, particularly for Small Islands Developing States and Least Developed Countries. Reflecting on their importance, some writers and professors like Alvin Toffler and William Halal, predicted the emergence of a maritime and aquaculture industry, mainly in relation to technological development, and recognizing the global efforts that have been made to address sustainable fisheries.

It is commonly said that sustainable fisheries require three key elements: marine environment protection, resource management and sound policy. Focussed educational programmes such as this one are important tools to support achieving compliance with these elements. 

In addition, other issues related to world poverty, hunger and food insecurity continue to prevail in some developing countries, which supports the need to continue with efforts to increase capacity building in the academic field.

My over 30 years of professional experience in the maritime sector have taught me to recognize the humanitarian aspects of the decisions made towards the shipping industry, which of course includes the fishing sector.

I am convinced that the WFU Pilot Programme will further contribute to global efforts to eliminate hunger and establish food security, which is part of the extensive UN 2030 agenda related to the Sustainable Development Goals, an area where IMO plays an important and active role.

From the information provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the objective of the WFU Pilot Programme is to provide a comprehensive and integrated educational platform to nurture experts who can multilaterally respond to different needs and deal with those issues at an advanced level. For a successful Pilot Programme, the necessary support is envisaged from different relevant Parties, including FAO Member States, policy makers, academies and international organizations.

Training and education is high on the agenda of the International Maritime Organization. A large number of maritime professionals have graduated from IMO’s World Maritime University since 1983, just as WMU graduates take a full and active role in many marine fields, I am sure that future WFU graduates could also become global leaders in the fishing sector.

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

IMO has, for a long time, being contributing towards the improvements of the global fishing sector.  The safety of fishing vessels is addressed through well-established instruments such as SOLAS chapter V, the Convention on International Regulations for Prevailing Collisions at Sea (COLREG), the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, MARPOL Annex V on prevention of pollution from garbage by ships, and the International Convention on Standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for fishing vessel personnel (STCW-F), which is currently undergoing a comprehensive review to keep up with new technological developments, among other aspects.

But the Cape Town Agreement on the safety of fishing vessels is the main instrument that I would like to bring to your attention and I want to request that you support my efforts towards achieving its entry into force.  The safety of fishermen and fishing vessels forms an integral part of the mandate of IMO and bringing this regime into force will play an important part in helping to improve safety standards and reduce loss of life.

I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight that the collaboration between IMO and FAO could not be any closer. IMO is currently reviewing the recommendations of the last session of the Joint FAO/IMO working group on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) to address an industry that is recognized as one of the most hazardous within the maritime sector.

Beyond the instruments that I have just mentioned, we are jointly collaborating in improving port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing, in order to encourage the coordinated implementation with other types of inspections, as mandated by other maritime conventions. Joint efforts to address these issues enable expertise to be developed and shared for the best results.

I have mentioned all this because a successful WFU Pilot Programme  could be regarded as a benchmark for the establishment of full WFU programme that will be determined by the FAO Member States in the 2019 FAO Conference. It is my sincere hope that the University takes an ambitious step with full and essential support of the FAO Member States. IMO will continue to support fishing initiatives like this one through the well-established cooperation agreement that we have with FAO, which in return could support the activities that both Organizations are carrying out for the benefit of the fishing sector. 

Allow me to express my gratitude to all of you, for your support and interest. I am convinced that you will give favorable consideration and the appropriate support to the WFU Pilot Programme.

Thank you.