Republic of Marshall Islands Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce, Hon. John Silk.
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29 June 2022, Lisbon Portugal, UNOC2022 - Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Pacific region is “systematic and linked to organised crime.”

The alarm was raised by the Republic of Marshall Islands Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce, Hon. John Silk, at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon Portugal. He called for stronger action to stop this for the sake of the Pacific nations’ future generations and security.

 “Up to a third of our own Pacific fish are taken, in fact robbed, from our waters, and we welcome new technology partnerships to boost our monitoring capacity,” he said. “Far more must be done by foreign partners to better advance human rights protections in our fishery, and throughout the world.”

Hon. Silk added RMI’s voice to a strong representation from Pacific countries who have been demanding more urgent action to protect our ocean. At the Second UN Ocean Conference, the Pacific Islands are represented by a strong contingent, which includes the Leaders from Fiji, Palau and Tonga.  Also present are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

At the plenary hall inside the Altice Arena on Wednesday, Hon. Silk re-emphasised the importance of sustainable oceans, fisheries and SDG 14.

“We remain gravely concerned that the good words we all speak at the United Nations are still too often contradicted by actions driven by immediate commercial self-interest,” he said. “As a world, we are at continued risk where the common interest of all becomes the responsibility of none.  We are failing our oceans and failing our future generations.  As island nations, these threats are real, and have far more devastating consequences now than ever.”

 The Republic of Marshall Islands Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce also called on world leaders to accept the fact they cannot reverse course on the health of global oceans and fisheries by symbolic partnership, but by political will through comprehensive actions at scale.  He referred to the leadership of island nations at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, as an example, to ensure effective tropical tuna harvest measures for some of the world’s last remaining sustainable commercial fisheries. 

 “In the Marshall Islands, we are leading coastal conservation efforts through our Reimaannlok commitments which place local communities and traditional practices at the forefront of resource management and protected areas,” the Minister said. 

At the International Maritime Organization, RMI continues to push for strong action that ensures an equitable transition to zero emission shipping by 2050 at the latest, driven a carbon levy starting at $100/ton in 2025. 

“Globally, we expect to conclude this year on a strong new UN treaty on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction to cut across fragmented policy silos to ensure effective and coordinated action for conservation in the high seas,” the Minister said. “We have every belief that the international community is well capable of higher ambition and action at the step-change needed to address the global oceans crisis.”

The second UN Ocean Conference is co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal. The meeting seeks to to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.

For more on the UN Ocean Conference 2022 hosted in Lisbon, Portugal from 27 June to 1 July please visit