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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Video Remarks: Economic Partnership

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Bali, Indonesia
October 6, 2013


Let me just say a lot of people might sort of ask why is the United States Secretary of State interested in what is happening here in Benoa Port and in these fisherman. And the truth is that we're very involved in this. The United States has deep interests in what is happening here, and deep connections to what is happening here. There is an NGO called Fishing and Living, which is working with and cooperating with the Government of Indonesia. And USAID is supporting that NGO. And UCLA is engaged in a research project with three universities in the region, in order to do marine research and to support the marine research Biodiversity Center. What happens here is critical to all of us; 60 million Indonesians are depending on the ocean and fishing resources for their livelihood, and 60 million Indonesians get the large proportion of their protein from marine resources.

We face the same challenge in our fisheries in America. In New England, particularly, we saw our cod industry greatly hurt in the last years as the stocks collapsed. And many fishermen have lost their livelihood, lost their jobs. Here, we have an enormous number of people who depend on the ocean for their subsistence. And the truth is that these stocks also are now threatened. What is involved here is a sustainable fisheries initiative, where the Government of Indonesia, represented by Mr. Sharif Cicip Sutardjo, the Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister, and Mr. Utama, who represents this fishing effort here, they are engaged in an effort to conduct a sustainable fishery in order that this fishery can be here for the future, for the next generation and the next generation. But that is threatened. It's threatened by the amount of demand for fish, it's threatened by the lack of controls over fishing.

And so, they're working very hard to understand what's happening to the stocks. Just as in New England or in the Pacific -- in the State of Washington or California, where we have fishermen, we need scientific information to be able to make the best fishing (inaudible). And so, everywhere we need more research. And that's exactly what we're supporting here, is an effort to maintain a sustainable fishery.

Most of the fish caught here in this operation work for and are part of an American company. Anova Company in Tampa Bay, in Florida, is the company that they're working for, they deliver the fish to. And these fish then come to Outback Steakhouse, to Whole Foods, to Wal-Mart. So everybody in America has a connection to what is happening here. And that's why I wanted to come over here to congratulate them for what they're doing and to learn a little more about it. Thank you very, very much. Appreciate it.

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