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Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission

About the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission

The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission was established under the APFIC agreement as the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council in 1948 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. APFIC is an Article XIV FAO Regional Fishery Body established by FAO at the request of its members. The Secretariat is provided and supported by FAO. APFIC (The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission) has a more than 50-year history and is one of the longest established regional fishery bodies (or RFBs). 

In February 1948, the Director-General of FAO invited interested Member Governments of FAO to attend a meeting in Baguio City, the Philippines to discuss the establishment of a regional body to support fishery development in the Asia-Pacific region. At this meeting, an Agreement establishing the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council was drawn up by accredited delegates of eight nations attending the meeting, viz., Burma (now the Union of Myanmar), China, France, India, the Netherlands, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The Agreement came into force on 9 November 19484. The FAO Conference at its Fourth Session (Washington DC, USA, 15-29 November 1948) approved the establishment of this regional fishery body with the title ‘Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council (IPFC)’, under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution.

The First Session of IPFC was held in Singapore in March 1949, with its first administrative task that of adopting the Council’s Rules of Procedure and the terms of reference of its two technical committees. Subsequent to the First Session, amendments to the Agreement and the Rules of Procedure have been adopted from time to time by the Council. The major ones include the amendments adopted by IPFC at its Ninth Session (1961) in order to bring it into line with the principles regarding such bodies adopted by the FAO Conference at its Eleventh Session (1961, Resolution 27/61). Amendments to its Rules of Procedure concerning subsidiary bodies of the Council and the terms of reference of its two Technical Committees were adopted at the Twelfth Session of IPFC (Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, October 1966) and approved by the FAO Council in 1967.

The change of the name ‘Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council’ to ‘Indo-Pacific Fishery Commission’ was made at the Seventeenth Session of IPFC (Colombo, Sri Lanka, October/November 1976). The Council at that session also decided to amend the Agreement to enable the Commission to take action directly related to fisheries management and development in its area of competence. The amendments were approved by the FAO Council at its Seventy-second Session (Rome, Italy, 1977, Resolution 4/72).

Further amendments to the Agreement were made at the Twenty-fourth Session of the Commission (Bangkok, Thailand, 23 November-4 December 1993), with the title of the Agreement changed to ‘Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC)’, and with amendments to the functions and responsibilities of the Commission, giving more emphasis to sustainable development and management. These amendments were endorsed by the FAO Council at its Hundred and Seventh Session on 21 November 1994 (para. 189 of the Report of the Council). The latest major amendments to the Agreement and the Rules of Procedure were adopted by APFIC at its Twenty-fifth Session (Seoul, Republic of Korea, October 1996). At this session, the Commission endorsed the recommendation of its Executive Committee that the Agreement and the Rules of Procedure revised at its Twenty-fourth Session should again be amended. The objective was to bring them into line with the Principles and Procedures which should Govern Conventions and Agreements Concluded under Articles XIV and XV of the FAO Constitution, and Commissions and Committees Established under Article VI of the Constitution (Part R of the Basic Texts of FAO which was revised by Resolutions 8/91 and 13/93 of the FAO Conference in November 1991 and 1993 respectively). These revisions were aimed at giving more flexibility to FAO Members in drawing up agreements under Articles XIV and XV of the Constitution and at allowing for a greater degree of autonomy for bodies established under such agreements. These amendments were approved by the FAO Council at its Hundred and Twelfth Session in June 1997 (para. 88 of the Report of the Council). 

The revised Agreement and the Rules of Procedure of APFIC can be found here.

The history of APFIC is reviewed in the document "50 Years of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission". The direction of the Commission was reviewed in the document The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission - its changing role.

More recently, the APFIC strategy 2012-2018 has clarified how the Commission will perform the functions laid out in the APFIC Agreement.