Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission

APFIC Regional Consultative Workshop Managing fishing capacity and IUU fishing in the Asian region

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APFIC Regional Consultative Workshop on Fishing capacity management and IUU fishing,  held in Phuket, Thailand, from 13 to 15 June 2007   This workshop was held to meet the recommendation of the 29th Session of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) to assist member countries improve the management of their fishing capacity in the region, including combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The overall aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of and promote actions towards achieving one of the most fundamental tenets of fishing – ensuring that fishing efforts are commensurate with the productive capacity of the fishery resource and their sustainable utilization (FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries).   At the global level, the call for States to reduce fishing capacity and combat IUU fishing is very loud and clear. Many reports have argued that existing global capacity is far greater than what is necessary to sustainably harvest the world’s fishery resources. This has been manifested through FAO members drafting and agreeing on an International Plan of Actions for the Management of Fishing Capacity and to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.   With a few exceptions, however, the responses at the national level have been much weaker, especially in Asian countries. One major dilemma is that if we limit access to fisheries resources we run the risk of cutting off an important source of livelihoods for poor communities, while if we keep the commons open, the resources will sooner or later be fished down (also impacting very negatively on poor communities in the longer term). Most fisheries in the region, therefore, are still open access in nature implying that capacity is not being managed and IUU fishing is still rampant, with most countries stating that they do not have the resources or capacity to do anything about it. Through this workshop it is hoped that a collective commitment and initiative to assist countries improve their management of fishing capacity and IUU fishing can be made, and that the agreed “call for action” be implemented.