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Aquatic Genetic Resources - A valuable and unexplored reserve of biodiversity for food and agriculture

Advisory Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources and Technologies

In recognition of the tremendous opportunities to increase food production and improve livelihoods from the responsible use of aquatic genetic resources and technologies, the 7th Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries' Sub-Committee on Aquaculture (COFI:AQ) recommended the establishment of a body to advise FAO on matters concerning aquatic genetic resources and technologies, and to enhance international cooperation on aquatic genetic resource management.

As a result the establishment of the Advisory Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources and Technologies (Working Group) and its terms of reference were approved at the 31st session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in 2014. Following FAO standard procedures for the establishment of the Working Group, ten experts were endorsed taking into consideration technical expertise, gender and geographical balance. These members will serve a two year term on the Working Group with the possibility of renewal.

The first meeting of the Working Group was convened from 1-2 October, 2015 in Brasilia, Brazil, in conjunction with the 8th Session of COFI:AQ. Major outcomes of the first meeting were the development of a general work-plan for the Working Group, which included the following activities:

  • Assistance with producing the State of the World's Aquatic Genetic Resources;
  • Revising definitions related to genetic resources in FAO glossaries;
  • Compilation of a list of the best existing guidelines and published material on management and transfer of AqGR;
  • Development of a roadmap for countries on minimum requirements for sustainable management, development, conservation and use of aquatic genetic resources; and
  • Compilation of a list of relevant institutions and organizations dealing with the sustainable use, conservation and management of aquatic genetic resources.

The contribution of experts in the Working Group to the responsible use of aquatic genetic resources is greatly appreciated.