The kind of laws we need - Solomon Star News

The kind of laws we need

22 April 2015

PARLIAMENT on Wednesday passed the Fisheries Management Bill in its second reading.

Members of Parliament who participated in the debate spoke highly of the bill and its intention.

This is a bill that has taken officials in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources several years to put together.

So it was a well-thought out piece of legislation put together after several years of consultations and inputs from various fisheries experts and officials.

In a nutshell, this is a bill devised with the aim to well manage and protect our marine resources for the benefit of our people.

Yes, we have a huge sea area that is challenging to manage.

In fact our sea area is 1.3 million square kilometres in size compared to our land mass, which is only 28,000 square kilometres.

Everything that lies within this vast pace of waters belongs to our people. Our tuna, other fish species, and all other marine lives are our resources.

We need to protect them so that we get the maximum benefits from them.

Let’s not repeat what we’ve done with our land.

We’ve allowed too many foreigners to come and cut down our trees.

Most of our commercials trees are no more. In a year or two, all the trees will be gone and logging will cease.

The foreigners have gone with the meat, leaving us to fight over the bones they left behind.

Communities that allow their forests to be logged are now worse off than before. Their trees have all gone and they have nothing more to rely on.

They no longer have trees left for their children to cut down for their houses.

That’s the reality for many of our rural communities today.

We cannot allow our sea resources to go down the same path.

It is the responsibility of the government and our leaders to protect our marine resources for the benefit of current and future generations.

And that’s what the Fisheries Management Bill intends to address.

We have many foreign fishing vessels plying our waters at the moment. They came looking for our tuna and other resources.

The bill, amongst other things, will ensure those who come to fish in our waters play by our rules and, we as a nation, gets what we rightly deserve from their activities.

Director of Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Solomon Islander Dr Transform Aqorau once said we can do without aid money if we properly manage our tuna resource.

In other words, we have an abundance of tuna and other marine resources in our waters that can sustain our economy and the future of the country.

And all more the reasons why we need to introduce new laws to protect those resources for the benefit of all.

The bill next goes to committee stage before it is passed and comes into force.

This is the kind of laws the country needs.