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III. Fisheries


1. The Committee noted that the world's fisheries have nearly doubled production in the last decade to about 38 million tons. This growth is expected to accelerate, and a production of 70 million tons is foreseen by 1970. Experts on the productivity of inland and marine resources estimate the ultimate sustained production to be even greater. How rapidly production increases and how effectively this production is utilized depends on many factors. Fishery development is a complicated procedure involving co-ordination of biological, oceanographic, technological and economic programs.

2. Fishery development is progressing rapidly both in the developed and the developing countries but at different levels of activity. Information on the abundance and distribution of the living aquatic resources is conflicting and almost nonexistent for many parts of the world. Moreover, more efficient methods of harvesting, processing and distribution need to be assessed and developed. Political and economic deterrents, the degree to which certain stocks are now exploited, and deleterious environmental changes, such as water pollution, also need to be considered if the potential capability of the world's aquatic resources to produce is to be fully realized, and the expected increased production is to be fully and efficiently utilized.

3. In the developed countries, new techniques constantly create crises in the distribution and marketing of certain abundantly-produced fishery products. Better marketing techniques have to be developed to ensure more uniform distribution of catches, especially into areas now receiving inadequate supplies of fishery products. In the developing countries, as members of this Committee have pointed out, a great need exists for guidance and services in fishery development. Fisheries are a primary renewable resource, and nonindustrialized nations are turning to these resources as one of the first items in their national development programs. Logically, these nations are looking to FAO for advice and guidance in all of the disciplines relating to fishery development.

Direction and balance of program

4. The Committee considered the 1962-63 program for the Fisheries Division as set forth in Document C 61/3, noting that, as planned and within the budget proposed, a good balance between the biological, technological and economic programs had been achieved.

5. It was noted, however, that aid programs such as the Freedom from Hunger Campaign (FFHC), the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance (EPTA), the United Nations Special Fund, co-operation with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and ad hoc aid to member countries - because of their urgency and high priority - did in fact have an adverse impact upon the efficient conduct of the Regular Program. The Committee suggested that an evaluation of this impact be made, and recommendations for improving the situation be forthcoming for appropriate consideration. It was also suggested that preparation of annual reviews of the status of such projects would aid in such evaluation.

6. The Committee, in praising the world-wide meetings convened by the Division, suggested that they be held only at such intervals as would meet the needs for inquiry into, and exposition of, new strides in technical and scientific development. Regional meetings, preparatory for such worldwide meetings, were suggested.

7. Note was taken of the proposal to create a Technical Intelligence and Reports Section to be staffed by transfers from the Biology and Technology Branches and within the Director's office; this proposal does not involve any budgetary increases.

8. The Committee called attention to the desirability of publishing fisheries documents quickly and simultaneously in the three official languages. The delegates of Spain, France and Morocco also called attention to the need for the Fisheries Division to distribute in the three languages all documents issued to Member Governments, particularly the manuals, bibliographies and technical documents presented at meetings organized by FAO. A letter pertinent to these observations was referred to the Technical Committee on Information and Publications by the Chairman.

9. The Committee recommended the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Marine Resources Research, as proposed in C 61/21, subject to a revision of paragraph 10, to read as follows:

" The Advisory Committee would be composed of not more than 15 fisheries experts appointed for a period of one year and eligible for reappointment. The members would be selected, after consultation with governments and intergovernmental and other bodies concerned with fisheries research, on the basis of their expert knowledge.

The Director-General is invited to note the need for regional and subject representation in appointing experts. Since there may be need for obtaining expert advice in fields other than that of marine resources research, the Director-General is invited to consider the establishment under Article VI, paragraph 4 of the Constitution, of a Panel of Experts in the subject matters of concern to all the Branches of the Fisheries Division. In this event experts appointed to the Committee could be drawn from the Panel. "

Biology branch

10. The Committee commended the work of the Biology Branch and approved the program of work for 1962-63.

11. The value of the bibliographic services provided by FAO in fishery biology was stressed, particularly the usefulness of these services to researchers in biology and oceanography. Bibliographies on aquatic sciences and fisheries had been issued during the past biennium, and the use of this service is continuing to expand. Delegates strongly supported expansion of this activity and the distribution of such bibliographies to Member Governments of the Organization. Lack of staff and funds limit this program.

12. The Tenth Session of the FAO Conference had approved the holding of international meetings for the exchange of technical information and for discussing future lines of research, and envisaged a series of such meetings. The World Scientific Meeting on the Biology of Sardines and Related Species in 1959 proved so successful that the Branch is now preparing for a Tuna Meeting, to which the United States of America will act as host in 1962. The Committee subscribed to the holding of similar future international meetings, particularly on hake and shrimp, subject to the availability of funds. With regard to inland waters, the Committee urged the holding of a symposium on freshwater fish culture, and this has been recommended for 1964. The results of such meetings need to be distributed immediately to workers in the laboratories and elsewhere. Extended delays have been associated mainly with lack of funds and personnel. The Committee commended the increased use of new, less costly reproduction processes.

13. The Committee examined the relationship of the Fisheries Division to other intergovernmental organizations, such as the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF), the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and the newly-established Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Excellent co-ordination with the older well-established research and regulatory organizations was noted, and it was recommended that, because of recent very large programs initiated by member and nonmember countries in oceanographic research, FAO should institute close working relations with IOC to ensure that the fisheries aspects of oceanography are properly integrated with those dealing with physical, chemical and other aspects. The proposed FAO Advisory Committee on Marine Resources Research (see paragraph 9 under Direction) may well be useful in advising IOC in this respect. It was noted that the Subcommittee on Oceanography of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC) furnished a means on the secretariat level of bringing about proper co-ordination in the execution of the programs of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies. Some delegations suggested that a member of FAO's Fisheries Division be assigned to work with the secretariat of IOC. The Director of the Fisheries Division stated that ad hoc co-operation had already been established and would be continued. The Committee brought to the attention of the secretariat that the Director-General of FAO could invite working parties and expert panels of IOC to use the facilities of the Fisheries Division of the Organization. It also suggested that during the coming biennium the possibility be explored of holding, during the 1964-65 biennium, a world symposium on fisheries oceanography.

14. The Committee approved of the establishment of a new post in the Biology Branch to undertake a systematic analysis of the activities of fishery research institutions. New institutions of this type have to be established in many member countries to deal with biological studies on the availability of aquatic resources, and the Fisheries Division properly proposed to investigate the whole problem of the organization and operation of research institutions.

15. The important problem of water pollution was noted. The Committee noted with approval the Fisheries Division's work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) on problems of water pollution and with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on radioactive pollution of fresh and marine waters, and also the work planned on water pollution by the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC). Particular attention was called to the pollution of inland and estuarine waters through the extended use of pesticides. This was considered especially critical, since it adversely affects the breeding and nursery grounds of many commercially important species of fish and shellfish. The Committee stressed the need for the Fisheries Division to take an active role in the FAO program on the use of pesticides.

Technology branch

16. The Committee commended and approved of the proposed program of work for 1962-63 and noted the large demand for technological advice from Member Governments especially in the developing regions. The Committee approved of the strengthening of the Fish Processing Section by the establishment of one new post.

17. The Committee recognized that the practical application of technological research is a primary activity of this Branch. Among the urgent problems, especially in certain fisheries is the need for protection of fish on vessels and ashore by proper use of ice. At regional meetings the availability of detailed information from FAO and other sources on icing techniques should be publicized. Wherever possible, fish should be supplied to the consumer in a form that is familiar and acceptable. If, through technological developments or economic circumstances, it may be possible to offer unfamiliar fish products to the public, a program of consumer education and product promotion will be required. FAO was also urged to provide more assistance in the field of fishery product development, especially effecting improvements in the use of traditional methods.

18. The Committee noted the success of the International Conference on Fish in Nutrition, held in Washington, D.C. in September 1961. This meeting was unique in that it brought together experts in the biological' technological and economic disciplines of fisheries development, as well as scientists in human and animal nutrition and a wide representation from the fishing industry. The recommendations of this meeting were noted with satisfaction by the Committee, and the Director-General was urged to implement these recommendations in future programs, where possible. Among these recommendations was one dealing with a symposium on the role of fundamental research in the successful utilization of fishery products. Also, this meeting recommended the establishment of a group of experts to evaluate the potential productivity of aquatic resources from the world's oceans; the Committee noted this recommendation and suggested the desirability of the secretariat seeking the advice of the proposed Advisory Committee on Marine Resources on this subject. Education and training of fishermen, fish handlers and processors were also stressed in the recommendations.

19. The importance of training centers was stressed by the Committee, and member countries were urged to take advantage of the opportunities afforded under EPTA in this respect. The Committee noted that member countries must initiate requests for such projects. This applies equally well to biological and economic projects.

20. The Committee noted that one of the most important results of the highly successful International Meeting on Fish Meal, held in Rome in March 1961, was a group of recommendations to initiate action programs for the testing and promotion of fish protein concentrates for human consumption. The Committee noted with satisfaction that the Thirty -Sixth Session of the Council had already given strong approval for such action programs and urged the Fisheries Division, in collaboration with the Nutrition Division, to proceed with these programs as expeditiously as possible. Under FFHC the active participation of WHO, UNICEF, and other United Nations organizations and of industry in the testing and promotional aspects of these programs is necessary to bring together all the skills needed to conduct successful programs. There would be no budgetary effects on the Regular Program.

21. The Committee commended the Technology Branch for its part in preparing and holding the Research Vessel Forum in Tokyo in 1961, and the rapidity with which the Proceedings were issued. The delegates agreed that more work in this field and other fields of vessel design was necessary. Support was given to the proposed studies concerned with safety at sea. The Committee noted that a study had been made of the problems of the stability of fishing vessels and that co-operation with the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) had been initiated. The Committee considered that stability criteria should take into account the conditions under which fishermen operate. It recommended that FAO continue to co-operate with IMCO.

22. The Committee suggested that the Technology Branch, in cooperation with the other Branches of the Fisheries Division, give special attention to the general problem of shore facilities as they relate to the establishment and improvement of fish harbors.

23. The Committee approved of the program of work on fishing gear and methods, noting the usefulness of handbooks and bibliographies issued, the work done in the training of fishermen, and the studies conducted on improved fishing gear. The Committee approved of the holding of an Inter national Fishing Gear Congress in 1963.

Economics branch

24. The Committee took note of the very wide range of subjects covered by this Branch. It commended the Branch for its many services, especially in producing fishery statistics yearbooks of high quality and coverage and in dealing promptly with critical problems that have developed, for example, in the fish meal industry. The Committee noted with satisfaction the establishment of two new posts in the Branch and the program of work for 1962-63, a major feature of which is the creation of two new sections to replace the former Fishery Institutions and Services Section. This will enable the Fisheries Division to cope better with the demands being made by member countries for advice and assistance in matters concerning fishery institutions and enterprises and in fishery administration and services.

25. The Committee approved of the holding of a world meeting on fishery administration in the 1964-65 biennium and asked that the Branch undertake preparatory work in this coming biennium. It was also recommended that a series of regional meetings be held prior to convening the world meeting.

26. In the field of institutions and enterprises, the Committee recommended strengthening of the work. In many developing countries fishery co-operatives constituted a principal means of fishery development for the individual fishermen. However, the Committee noted that the efforts of the Branch should also be directed toward the encouragement of other means for development, for example, the bringing together of interested investors and fish producers and processors in need of financial assistance.

27. The Committee noted that fishery development, which has taken place at a rapid rate, raised problems of a biological and technological nature but that, in the final analysis, bearing in mind the basic role that has to be played by FAO, greater attention should be given to economic factors and problems. The ultimate objective of all fishery development is to make available the distribution of fishery products in acceptable form to all consumers at prices that they can afford and at the same time enable fishery enterprises to operate economically. The Committee urged the Fisheries Division and member countries to co-ordinate the economic, technological and biological aspects of fishery development. This applies equally to developed and developing countries.

28. The Committee recommended that more attention be given to providing bibliographic and other reference materials (for example, handbooks, lists of wholesale markets, etc.) in the economics field, where such services are almost nonexistent.

29. Delegates commented on the urgent need for supplying member countries with especially detailed statistics on commodities which may assume critical importance from time to time. Among these are fish meal, fish oil, shrimp and tuna. The Fisheries Division has already produced commendable tabular material in this respect.

Regional activities

30. The work accomplished by the Regional Fisheries Officers in Europe, the Near East, Africa, the Far East and Latin America was reviewed, and the assistance given by these officers to various governments was highly appreciated.

31. Special attention was given to the regional fisheries bodies at present in operation, namely the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council (IPFC), the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC). The main lines of the program of work of these bodies were reviewed, and the reports of IPFC (C 61/Fi 3) and GFCM (C 61/Fi 4) were noted. Mention was made of the Regional Fisheries Commission for Western Africa, established at the Thirty -Sixth Session of the Council in 1961, under Article VI paragraph 1, of the FAO Constitution.

32. Attention was also drawn to the contemplated Southwest Atlantic Fisheries Advisory Commission.

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