An assessment of marine environmental compliance and enforcement in the Pacific Islands region
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With vast ocean spaces under their jurisdictions, Pacific Island States have a duty to manage and conserve natural resources sustainably, and to protect and preserve the marine environment. But meagre human and financial resources are major impediments to environmental protection. Pacific Island States have long realised the importance and benefits that arise from regional cooperation. The contribution of regional cooperation to marine environmental protection is especially pronounced in fisheries conservation and management. Since 1979, Pacific Island States have been working to enhance fisheries compliance and enforcement. The long and successful experience that Pacific Island States have had in regional fisheries cooperation is a good model to employ in the wider mandate for protection and preservation of the marine environment.
Each Pacific Island State at the local and national level faces the sustainable development task of balancing development activities and aspirations with the maintenance of ecosystem integrity. Since larger nations have benefited the most from the exploitation of marine resources from the region, the argument made by Pacific States is that they must be given opportunity to realise their development aspirations. Each country has some potential for development but financial, technical, and logistical constraints present particular impediments for smaller, low lying islands such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue and Nauru.
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