South Korea's vice-minister of oceans and fisheries, Jae Hak Son signed a memorandum of understanding with the FAO’s assistant director-general, Maria Helena Semedo, to confirm the Far East country’s role in supporting responsible fisheries and guiding emerging players.
Korea will also promote compliance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, which was adopted by member countries in 1995 and contains a series of policy principles, technical guidelines and best practices for conducting fishing and aquaculture in a responsible and sustainable way.
Funded by government
The new FAO-South Korea initiative will cover a broad spectrum of policy, governance and management issues in fisheries and aquaculture. Education and training programmes will be a major component.
All activities will mainly be financed by South Korea via a new trust fund established at FAO.
"Fishing and fish farming make major contributions to food supply, nutrition, and incomes for millions of people," said Semedo. "This new programme will help safeguard these contributions for future generations, by providing governments and those working in fishing and aquaculture with guidance and support in adopting more sustainable practices.”
Jae Hak Son added: “This forms part of Korean efforts to foster capacity building in developing countries. By providing key education and training, we will help create much needed expertise in international fisheries policy development."
A key food sector
The livelihoods of 660-820m people depend directly or indirectly on fisheries and aquaculture, and fish is the primary source of protein of 17% of the world's population. This figure rises to nearly 25%, however, in low-income, food-deficit countries, and to more than 50% in some of the least developed countries in Africa and Asia.
For small the Island Developing States economic category, where opportunities for land-based livelihoods and economic development are limited, fisheries and aquaculture are especially important.
Fish is also an essential food item for island communities, where its contribution to total animal protein consumption ranges from an average of 16% to more than 50%.