Chief Justice of Solomon Islands Sir Albert Palmer reiterated the importance of the Judicial conference to the governance of our ocean resources, during the opening of the program at FFA conference centre in Honiara yesterday.
In his opening remarks Mr Palmer said fisheries resources plays an important role for our pacific islands people, and that definitely on culture, food security and our economic development.
“However, we recognise that illegal fishing continues to be a major challenge in our region and threatens these core aspects. So it is important to emphasise the following two fundamental points at the outset of our meeting,” Palmer cautioned.
“First, given the central role it plays in our way of life, the protection of our fisheries resources is central to our Pacific Islands people. Whether you’re in the judiciary or working in fisheries we each have a part to play in ensuring that our fisheries are safeguarded,” Chief Justice asserted.
“Secondly, the cordial working relationship and cooperation between our countries continues to be our strength in protecting our resources, particularly given the highly migratory nature of tuna and vessels that fish for them. We can all share in the privilege and benefits of cooperation,” he continued.
Sir Palmer added the courts play a key role in this effort to protect the fisheries resources and uphold the laws that secure and protect this limited resource.
“It is necessary that we, the judges are provided with sufficient, admissible evidence that can assist us in our work, so that in appropriate cases, where a conviction has been sustained, adequate penalties can be imposed,” he stressed.
Furthermore, he asserted with hope that the judicial seminar will allows the judges an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the current technologies that are being utilised to assist in protecting our fisheries resources, as well as to be apprised of the new emerging technologies that could be used in evidence before the court.
“As well, we should be able to learn something about key fishing methods, and the challenges that could be encountered in the collection of crucial evidence. We can collectively discuss these technologies and share views on the types of challenges that have been experienced in fisheries cases or with electronic evidence, or that is envisaged could arise from such emerging technologies,” Sir Palmer added.
Beside that Chief Justice said they hope these discussion and deliberations will also greatly assist FFA in determining any further work that may be needed to ensure that electronic evidence is adequately incorporated into laws, collected and presented in admissible form.
“I invite you all colleague judges to embrace this unique opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge. I know this is an easy request to you, given that sharing is integral to our Pacific tradition,” he concluded.
By AATAI JOHN