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33. The Secretariat, introducing document RFB/II/2001/5, advised the Meeting that FAO had taken steps, in compliance with directives of the Committee on Fisheries, to formulate a draft International Plan of Action (IPOA), including consultation with regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs), cooperation with the Government of Australia in convening an expert consultation, and convening of a technical consultation. The formulation also took into account various initiatives within the United Nations system, notably the Rome Declaration on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries adopted by the FAO Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries in 1999 and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.

34. The ensuing discussion focused on the section of the draft IPOA dealing with RFMOs. The meeting acknowledged that IUU fishing was a widespread international issue that impacted on the work of management organizations and expressed support for the draft IPOA, noting that it should ultimately reduce and eventually eliminate the incidence of IUU fishing. However, the meeting also recognized differences in incidence and scope of IUU fishing between high seas and inshore fisheries and between marine and coastal and inland capture fisheries.

35. Many RFBs indicated that IUU fishing was a serious problem in their respective areas and that these organizations were addressing the problems generated by IUU fishing in ways that were largely consistent with the provisions of the draft IPOA. Example of the situation in some RFBs were given below:

· CCAMLR had taken strong measures to counter the high level of unregulated fishing and the special environment of the Antarctic. Among others, it had taken measures related to trade (catch documentation scheme), port authority, transshipments, vessel monitoring systems, political approaches to non-member countries whose vessels were known to fish in CCAMLR waters, contact with other international organizations and increased its budget substantially to be in a condition to develop these measures immediately;

· The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) recognized the importance of addressing IUU fishing and expressed similar concerns to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) with respect to large pelagics. It was anticipated that the Commission would focus more sharply on IUU fishing in the future;

· For several years, ICCAT had taken measures to combat IUU fishing, measures that are consistent with those in the draft IPOA.

· IUU fishing was a major problem for the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), in particular due to large long-line fleets, with over 70,000 tons of unreported catch. Of special concern was the large long-line fleet from Taiwan Province of China. The view was expressed that when arrangements were put in place for the implementation of management measures, some means would need to be developed to engage Taiwan Province of China, in view of its significant role in the region’s tuna fishery.

· The North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) advised the meeting that illegal salmon fishing had been taking place in its area of competence by large-scale driftnet vessels. Members of the Commission were working together to strengthen enforcement and improved coordination.

36. The meeting took note that in the Baltic Sea, the International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBSFC) had put in place requirements for vessels to be authorized to fish, together with other measures such as monthly catch reporting systems.

37. The meeting also noted the action being undertaken by the Latin American Organization for Fisheries Development (OLDEPESCA) in working with its members that operate open vessel registries. In the case of one OLDEPESCA member, this work had resulted in a reduction of fishing vessels on its registry from 1,571 to around 100. These remaining vessels were now subject to vessel monitoring and data reporting requirements.

38. One delegation expressed the view that trade-related measures should not be used to combat IUU fishing.

39. It was noted that the practicalities of timing and recording of information as called for in paragraph 73 of the draft IPOA should be carefully considered as vessels could change their status in a short period of time.

40. With respect to IUU fishing in small-scale fisheries, the Meeting noted that action was being taken to address this phenomenon. This included licensing and registration procedures that were supported by the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) programme.

41. The Meeting noted further that IUU fishing had not been identified in the southeast Asian region as a priority fisheries issue. This was because IUU fishing was seen as a high seas fishing problem rather than an issue for coastal or inshore fisheries. Nonetheless, the Representative of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) reported that members of SEAFDEC were taking action to address some of the causes of IUU fishing such as the need to implement vessel registration systems. It was further noted that there was a need to sensitize fishers and fishing communities about IUU fishing. The link between poverty and IUU fishing in small-scale fisheries should not be overlooked.

42. The Meeting did not express unanimous view about the effects subsidies could have on the sustainability of fishery resources and, in that context, on IUU fishing. The Secretariat noted that the reference to such transfer payments stemmed from situations where these payments resulted in overcapacity.

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