Dr Chumnarn Pongsi, Secretary General SEAFDEC,
Mr Hajime Kawamura, Deputy Secretary General SEAFDEC,
Colleagues of the ICES/FAO Symposium,
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and on my own behalf, I welcome you all to Bangkok for this meeting of the ICES-FAO Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behaviour (WG FTFB).
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and FAO have enjoyed a fruitful working relationship on fishing capture technology and related fields for many years. The ICES Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behavior was given a global mandate in 2002 when FAO and ICES formed a joint Working Group with the new title ICES-FAO Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behavior. A primary objective of this working group is the incorporation of fishing technology expertise into management advice including the impacts of fishing on the environment (e.g. bycatch mitigation, habitat impacts, energy use).
As a result of closer collaboration, FAO has been able to participate and contribute to the body of knowledge developed under this working group. Such exchanges have provided a stimulus to further strengthen the relationship and take advantage of synergies resulting from the global nature of FTFB. In 2011, ICES and FAO elaborated the arrangements and defined the purpose of the collaboration between at the WGFTFB. Subsequently, FAO agreed to co-chair the WGFTFB and host the meetings every third year in the location chosen by FAO, beginning in 2013.
This meeting is the first one hosted by FAO under this new arrangement. FAO is hosting this meeting together and in close collaboration with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), which is the leading regional body in SE-Asia in the field of fishing technology development. The participants of this meeting are coming from all around the world and the meeting is truly global.
The over-arching goal and objectives are:
- Provide a forum for global synthesis of the scientific knowledge of fishing technology and its effective use;
- Evaluate the role and potential for capture technologies and practices to reduce fishing impacts on the environment and energy use;
- Review and discuss advances in technology and analytical methods used to study these effects;
- Provide a forum for discussion on how perceptions and decisions of fishers and resource managers affect the success of achieving sustainable use and successful management of fishery resources; and,
- Foster new partnerships between scientists and technologists from developed and developing economies to minimize the impact of fishing in the environment.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Fisheries provide the main source of animal protein for about one billion people worldwide. They provide food for consumption, employment and financial income, and a food source when other sources are at seasonal lows. Fish are especially important for the poor as they are often the most accessible sources of protein available. However, competing demands for resources and access can lead to conflicts and overexploitation of fisheries, with negative impacts on food security. Management of fisheries that ensures their sustainability is essential to maintain their contributions to food security. Fisheries play a particularly important role in SE Asia where the numbers of fishers, vessels, and quantity of products is high.
Responsible management of fisheries resources requires both innovation and practical consideration. Trade-offs between economic viability, resource conservation and human needs are inevitable in this complex and challenging natural resource system.
I believe this working group, which has a strong international lead in developing sustainable fishing practices, will help us to successfully contribute in our commitments towards sustainable fisheries. Our region will draw on the considerable expertise and experience that exists now here in Bangkok in this room and will take the opportunity in sharing information and developing innovative and sustainable fishing practices. This is a great opportunity for all participants to learn from each others with the intention to seek long term solutions in our problems.
I would like to thank you in advance for the work you are about to undertake over the next five days, and I am confident that your professionalism, knowledge and expertise will make a real impact in developing practical and responsible fishing practices and will contribute to the sustainable management of fisheries.
I wish you well in your endeavors.