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A week of aquaculture wraps up in Rome

Closing session of the Ninth Session of FAO COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Chaired this Ninth Session of COFI Aquaculture.
The Red Room during the closing session and adoption of the final report.

The Ninth session of FAO’s COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture wrapped up last week in Rome. The Sub-committee meeting brought together 188 delegates from 94 member countries and observers from regional fisheries bodies, international organizations and civil society organizations to review a full agenda of aquaculture-related items.

These agenda item included discussion on progress on implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, Aquaculture’s role in Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aquatic genetic resources for aquaculture development, extension services in aquaculture, aquaculture certification, aquaculture development and Blue Growth in small island developing states (SIDS). You can see our blog posts on Day 1 and Day 2 of the sessions to learn more about these discussions.

The work of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department is governed by the work of FAO’s member country-driven Committee on Fisheries (COFI). In order to better inform its work, COFI maintains two sub-committees, the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, which has met every two years since 1986, and the more recent COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, which has been meeting every two years since its initial session in 2002.

Each session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture includes both recurrent and new agenda items, agreed upon with member countries to reflect new opportunities and emerging challenges to the sector.

This is especially important to a sector growing as rapidly as aquaculture, which now provides over half of the fish we consume globally – and with the demand for seafood rising alongside a growing population, those numbers look set to increase. How to manage that growth sustainably, while simultaneously providing a nutritious source of food and creating employment for often vulnerable populations, was a recurrent theme that ran throughout the week’s discussions.

Matthias Halwart, Technical Secretary to the COFI Sub-Committee noted his pleasure about the success of the sub-committee meeting that boasted record attendance, adding “I think one of the most important subjects we discussed was how aquaculture development feeds into the Sustainable Development Goals, and how this relates to the Vision of FAO on sustainable food and agriculture. Seeing how aquaculture development has been tremendous, with significant growth rates now reaching 106 million tonnes, valued at 163 billion USD, it is important that aquaculture develops in a responsible and sustainable way, and achieves its objectives along the three dimensions of sustainability economically, environmentally and socially.”

Malcolm Beveridge, Acting Head of the Aquaculture Branch of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department echoed Halwart’s enthusiasm regarding the meeting’s success. “This is the biggest COFI Sub-Committee meeting we’ve ever had. It was wonderful to see that so many people made it here to Rome to take part in this meeting. For me, highlights included the SIDS. I’m so pleased that we managed to pull together so many people from so many parts of the world to come and talk about the issues that really trouble the small island developing states with regards to aquaculture development. Another highlight for me would have to be the feedback we got on the conformity of aquaculture plans of countries with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and the offer of Norway to help us advance this by looking at how the successful countries have really managed to make things work for them, what lessons we can learn and how we can use these to guide other countries that still have a bit of a distance to go.”

FAO thanks the Ninth session’s Chair, the Islamic Republic of Iran, all member countries and participants for making this session a success. We are pleased to announce that Norway will host the Tenth session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture in 2019.

To see the short wrap-up film of the Ninth Session of FAO COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, watch here:

To see a longer compilation of country and regional interviews over a wide range of aquaculture topics, see this video
of Country and regional perspectives on aquaculture:

Robert Jimmy of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. SPC represents 22 small island developing states in the Pacific, and participated in the week-long SIDS seminar.
Delegates from the United States of America were among the 94 member countries in attendance at COFI Aquaculture.
Norway announced that it would host the next session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture in 2019.
The delegation from South Africa at COFI Aquaculture.
FAO's Red Room during the closing session and adoption of the final report.
Delegates from Sri Lanka and Spain during COFI Aquaculture plenary discussions.
The Swedish delegation at COFI Aquaculture.
Saint Lucia’s Thomas Nelson takes the floor at the closing session. Nelson was Chair of the SIDS seminar raking place parallel to the COFI Aquaculture meetings.
Thailand’s delegation. Asia is the most significant aquaculture producing region globally.
The Pacific’s Kiribati and Africa’s Kenya during COFI Aquaculture sessions.
Lebanon in the Red Room during COFI Aquaculture sessions.
El Salvador during COFI Aquaculture sessions.
The close of a very successful COFI Aquaculture meeting – one with record attendance – at FAO Headquarters in Rome.




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