Hours after President Macky Sall of Senegal met in Washington with President Barack Obama late last month, he stepped into a brightly lit hotel meeting room to accept the Peter Benchley Award for National Stewardship of the Ocean, the only prize for ocean conservation given to heads of state.
A coastal city, Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, is an area where people have relied on the ocean for food and employment for as long as they have lived there.
The 43rd Pacific Islands Forum was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 28 to 30 August 2012 involved leaders from the 16 member Pacific nations including Australia and New Zealand. This year's theme: “Large Ocean Island States – the Pacific Challenge” with major topics including climate change, trade and fishing.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with more than 500 officials from nearly 60 countries including China, and European Union attended as observers and participated in other meetings in the Cook Islands, some 3000 km northeast of New Zealand.
“Look out there, the blue one…. that is a European Union fishing vessel that is threatening our livelihood,” says Lallmamode Mohamedally, a Mauritian fisherman, as he points to a boat offloading its catch at the Les Salines port, close to the country’s capital Port Louis.
It takes a village to protect a reef and sustain a local fishery, more than two decades of experience now shows.
The model of exploiting fisheries that has prevailed in the last decade has driven fish stocks to critically low levels in Chile, which has a 6,435 km Pacific coastline and a wide diversity of marine resources.