INTRODUCTION
1. We, the APEC Ocean-related Ministers representing 20 member economies, met on 16-17 September 2005, in Bali, Indonesia. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr Freddy Numberi, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, and the Hon. Geoff Regan, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. The meeting was also attended by the Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat and a number of Guests.
2. We last met in April 2002 in Seoul, Korea when we adopted the Seoul Oceans Declaration as our commitment to domestic and regional action for the sustainable development of our oceans, seas and coasts, including their resources.
3. Our discussions in Bali, and the Bali Plan of Action "Towards Healthy Oceans and Coasts for the Sustainable Growth and Prosperity of the Asia Pacific Community" that we have adopted, furthers our collective resolve to take action to ensure our oceans and their resources provide a permanent and sustainable foundation to the economic and social well-being of our economies and people.
4. In advancing the overall APEC agenda, we focused our discussions around the theme of "Our Coasts, Our Oceans... an Action Plan for Sustainability" in recognition also of the theme of APEC in 2005 "Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change". In this regard we recognize that sustainable economic growth and the well-being and resilience of our communities are impossible without healthy and productive oceans and coasts.
5. The issues we have discussed are critical to APEC, and the wellbeing of the Asia-Pacific region is critical to global sustainable development. Our Economies, which account for 57% of global GDP and 45% of the global population, also account for over 75% of the world's capture fisheries, over 90% of world aquaculture production, 70% of the world's global consumption of fish products, and account for 47% of world trade.
6. The Bali Plan of Action contains practical commitments for the rest of this decade and which we expect will guide the priorities of APEC and its working groups that deal with oceans related issues, as well as demonstrate our regional commitment to global oceans and fisheries priorities.
BALANCING CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES WITH ECONOMIC GROWTH
7. The oceans and their resources are essential to our respective cultures, livelihoods and economic wellbeing, in particular, those of our coastal communities. We stress the need to ensure that these resources and opportunities are available for future generations. We note, with concern, the increasing vulnerability of our oceans, fisheries and coasts and renew our commitment to take action to address this.
8. We also recognize the critical role played by APEC in providing technical advice and assistance to enhance member Economies' capacity to engage in this collective effort.
9. The Bali Plan of Action reflects our resolve to undertake tangible domestic and regional actions, as resources and capacity permit, in the areas of:
  • ensuring the sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources;
  • providing for sustainable economic benefits from the oceans; and
  • enabling sustainable development of coastal communities.
Ensuring the sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources
10. We need to better understand our oceans and coastal zones, biological diversity, ecologically significant areas and vulnerable ecosystems and the impact of human activities on them. We stress the critical need for adequate science and economic information, data and Earth observation systems on which to base our decisions, including the need for increased research on fish stocks and other oceans resources, ecosystems and the marine and coastal environment. We also commit to make better use of oceans modeling and information systems in our decision making.
11. We note the importance of an ecosystem-based approach to management to address the serious and continuing threats from land- and sea-based pollution, the emerging problems from marine invasive species, marine debris and derelict fishing gear, and unsustainable farming and harvesting of ocean resources. Our region also contains a wide range of particularly significant and vulnerable marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and other coastal and marine features that need greater protection. We commit to act on measures outlined in the Bali Plan of Action as a contribution to sustainable management of our region's marine environment.
12. Fisheries and aquaculture resources contribute to food security, local livelihoods, and are key drivers of our economies and that of the region. We express, with great concern, the continuing serious threats to fisheries sustainability, including fishing overcapacity, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, discards and by-catch. Accordingly, we resolve to increase our efforts to strengthen and update fisheries governance and management, including through reform of and cooperation in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to improve their effectiveness. We also emphasize the importance of aquaculture to our economies, and we commit to actions to improve its sustainability and viability.
Providing for sustainable economic benefits from oceans
13. It is crucial that we develop effective, practical and holistic steps to realize the full economic potential of our ocean resources for our communities and economies. We underscore the APEC goal of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We also stress the need for strengthened conservation and resource management, and safe seafood and sustainable aquaculture products. Institutional and human capacity building and technical assistance is also needed at all stages of the production and distribution chain to ensure that all our economies can share in the benefits of our ocean resources.
Enabling sustainable development of coastal communities
14. The tragic consequences of the Indian Ocean Tsunami have brought into sharp focus the socioeconomic importance of oceans and coastal resources for the wellbeing of many communities in the region. We resolve to take action to raise awareness and engagement of coastal communities in integrated oceans and coastal management, and stress the importance of building capacity and sharing knowledge to support this. The swift rehabilitation and reconstruction of coastal areas and communities affected by the Tsunami is a high priority. The Bali Plan of Action also outlines actions that we can take to reduce our communities' vulnerability to future natural disasters and the threat posed by the effects of climatic change and variability, especially to small island developing economies.
Concluding Remarks
15. We express our heartfelt appreciation to Indonesia for hosting the second APEC Ocean-related Ministerial Meeting and the excellent arrangement of this important event. We thank Canada for co-chairing the meeting.
16. We intend to bring the outcomes of this meeting, and their importance to APEC, to the attention of our Leaders, who will be meeting at the APEC Summit in Busan, Korea, in November 2005.
17. We direct the Marine Resources Conservation Working Group and the Fisheries Working Group to rapidly set priorities and to implement the Bali Plan of Action in collaboration with relevant APEC bodies.
18. We look forward to seeing productive outcomes for the Asia Pacific region emanating from the Bali Plan of Action, and we welcome the invitation to meet again in Peru at an appropriate time to consider the progress that has been made in its implementation.