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Vigo Dialogue: Building socially responsible fisheries value chains

Photo: ©FAO
The Vigo Dialogue kicks off today in Vigo, Spain
Photo: ©FAO/Catanzano
Fishermen start the day early off the coast of the African island of Sao Tome a Principe
Photo: ©FAO/Kambou
Fishermen unloading the catch at the port of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

It’s that time of year again – FAO’s annual appointment in Vigo, Spain for the FAO-Conxemar World Fisheries Congress.

Fisheries experts, industry actors, government officials, scientists, labour union representatives, and civil society organizations descend on this Galician city from around the world to attend this one day congress addressing a different theme each year. 

This year’s edition –held on 1 October 2018 – was dedicated to world fisheries production.

You can see past blog posts about congresses highlighting FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and cephalopods.

Today, following the FAO-Conxemar Congress, the Vigo Dialogue is taking place. This has become another annual tradition where fisheries experts, government officials, private sector actors, fisherfolk associations and civil society organizations come together to focus attention on decent work in the fisheries sector.

At this year’s event, participants begin a consultative process to move ahead a decision made by the 33rd session of FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI). At that session, a decision was made for FAO to develop – alongside relevant stakeholders, including industry and fish worker associations  – a guidance document about promoting social sustainability in the fisheries sector all along the fisheries value chain.

Such a document would build upon the experiences developing the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains

This Vigo Dialogue exploring social responsibility in the fisheries value chain is expected to launch discussions as FAO works towards drafting this guidance document. According to Audun Lem, Deputy-Director, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, “This year’s Vigo Dialogue is an important opportunity for us as we move ahead in organizing regional and global dialogues that will move us closer to a guidance document.”

“In past years, the Vigo Dialogue has led to a very fruitful exchange of ideas and points of view about how to improve social responsibility along the fisheries value chain. The attendees bring to the table their vast experience in the seafood industry, fisherfolk associations, retail, Ministries and government offices, and labour unions. In recent years, we have been seeing a strong willingness for all of these actors to work together towards the common goal of improving social responsibility in the sector.”

“Following the mandate provided us by the last session of COFI in July, the Vigo Dialogue seemed the logical choice to kick-start the regional and global dialogues that FAO will be undertaking with partners over the coming months. We are looking for ways to encourage the largest possible involvement at this consultation stage, and we hope discussions at this year’s Vigo Dialogue will start this process off with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas for moving forward.”

We have been following the day’s discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #VigoDialogue.

Photo: © FAO/Crespi
Women in Haiti waiting for the morning catch to arrive
Photo: © FAO/Economopoulos
Fishermen in the harbor of Zarzis, Tunisia
Photo: © FAO/Gonsalves
Women in the African island of Sao Tome a Principe prepare the fish for market as their children look on
Photo: © FAO
Aurora de Blas, COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade Chair, will collaborate with FAO on consultations leading to draft guidance on social responsibility in the fisheries sector


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