CCAMLR has been presented with the 2016–2017 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Margarita Lizárraga Medal Award for serving with distinction in the application of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (the Code).
At a ceremony in Rome this week, CCAMLR Chair Dr Monde Mayekiso was presented with the biennial award. The FAO Margarita Lizárraga Medal recognises outstanding, practical hands-on contribution to the application of the Code, demonstrated by tangible, sustained effort with potential to catalyse similar and related efforts.
The award, established in 1997, pays tribute to the late Ms Margarita Saucedo Lizárraga. Originally from Mexico, Ms Lizárraga was instrumental in promoting sustainable use of fisheries resources, especially in developing countries, and played a key role in promoting the Code.
In his acceptance speech Dr Mayekiso said it was a privilege for CCAMLR to join the list of deserving previous recipients of this prestigious award. He spoke of the Convention establishing CCAMLR as explicitly encompassing not only ecosystem and precautionary principles but as providing the institutional platform to support a balance between the conservation of marine living resources and sustainable harvesting.
Dr Mayekiso cited CCAMLR’s achievements as including the almost complete elimination of seabird by-catch in CCAMLR-regulated fisheries, the reduction of IUU fishing to very low levels, the successful pioneering of a suite of monitoring and compliance related measures including real-time vessel monitoring, a catch documentation scheme and compliance evaluation procedures. He praised CCAMLR Members for the establishment of two of the world’s largest marine protected areas, one on the South Orkneys Southern Shelf in the south west Atlantic and one in the Ross Sea region.
CCAMLR’s achievements are considered by the Margarita Lizárraga Medal selection committee to be a model for similar initiatives that could have a catalytic effect on other Regional Fishery Bodies.
In concluding his acceptance speech, Dr Mayekiso looked to the future challenges for CCAMLR.
“There is still much work ahead for CCAMLR Members,” said Dr Mayekiso.
“Recognition associated with an award such as the Margarita Lizárraga Medal not only confirms that past efforts have been valuable and appreciated by the international community but provides additional motivation to continue those endeavours,” he said.