51. The Secretariat introduced document RFB/II/2001/7 which highlighted recent developments in consolidating ecosystems approaches into fisheries management. It was recognized that such approaches were still at an early stage of development by regional organizations competent for fisheries and marine and coastal environment. As there were a number of major Regional Seas Conventions in force, and many RFBs involved with management of oceans and their resources, there was a need to strengthen cooperation and coordination between these bodies. In this connection, the Secretariat referred to activities undertaken by RFBs as summarized in Annex 9 of the document.
52. The Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stressed the interest of this agency of the UN system to strengthen relations between RFBs and regional and global organizations concerned with aquatic resources and environment. He recalled that when this issue was discussed at the Third Meeting of RSCs in Monaco in November 2000, the meeting endorsed the proposal for increased coordination of activities with other international organizations and, in particular, RFBs.
53. The Representative of IBSFC, referring to Agenda 21, informed the meeting that a programme of work was prepared jointly with other regional bodies dealing with the Baltic Sea marine environment. A Global Environmental Facility (GEF) project for the Baltic Sea region which might start this year for a five-year period had been designed. The project had two components: one marine-based component and one land-based component. The main objective of this project was to secure a healthy ecosystem and sustainable fisheries development.
54. The Representative of ICCAT noted that, although his organization was not mentioned in Annex 9 of document RFB/II/2001/7, ICCAT had been carrying out environmental-related activities including work on associated and independent species and by-catch. A scientific sub-committee had been created to deal with these issues.
55. The Representative of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) also noted that although NAMMCO was not mentioned in Annex 9, the ecosystem management approaches had been on NAMMCOs agenda since the inception of the organization. The Representative informed the meeting that a working group under NAMMCO Scientific Committee remained active and was working in the complex problem of understanding multi-species interaction and the role of species in the ecosystem and that information on this subject would be made available to the Meeting at future meetings.
56. The Representative of OLDEPESCA stated that all programmes and research activities of OLDEPESCA included components related to ecosystem-based fisheries management.
57. The Representative of IATTC stated that ecosystem modeling was being used to support the work the Commission was doing with issues related to by-catch. He informed the Meeting that mutual observer status had been established between IATTC and the Comisión Permanente del Pacífico Sur (CPPS) which permitted the exchange of information on data of mutual interest and the participation at meetings organized by either of the organizations. The Representative also informed the Meeting that the Secretaries of both organizations had recently co-sponsored a technical meeting that examined climate change and its effect on fisheries in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. There was similar cooperation with PICES.
58. The Representative of SEAFDEC underlined the relevance of ecosystem-based fisheries management to tropical fisheries and pointed out that SEAFDEC was considering undertaking some appropriate activities in this area.
59. The Representative of CCAMLR informed the Meeting that CCAMLR was very much involved in the work of the Committee of Environmental Protection of Antarctica, in the implementation of the agreement of the Antarctica Treaty contracting parties, and actively participated in the meetings as appropriate. The Representative further stated that the CCAMLR web site contained a large amount of information with regard to CCAMLRs approach to ecosystem management. It was pointed out that part of the content of Annex 9 of document RFB/II/2001/7 which described CCAMLR activities should be amended to reflect the current situation.
60. The Representative of ICES informed the Meeting that ICES had developed research programmes on fisheries and ecosystems and a new advisory committee had been created to deal with overlapping issues between RSCs and RFBs.
61. The Secretary of the Western Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) observed that the Cartagena Convention for the Wider Caribbean generally covered the same geographical area covered by WECAFC and that this could facilitate cooperation between the Caribbean RSC and WECAFC. Initial contact was made to identify one possible activity of common interest.
62. The representative of IOTC explained that, although its mandate was restricted to tuna and tuna-like species, the Commission had authorized collection of data on non-target, associated and dependent species (NTADs). Nevertheless, few data were available as logbook programmes of contracting and collaborating countries did not currently cover these species. Environmental anomalies were currently studied in relation to their effect on fish stocks. While there was no evidence of any cetacean mortalities in relation to purse seine fishing, predation of cetaceans on longline-caught fish was of increasing concern. Studies would also be conducted to establish whether FADs acted as environmental traps for both target species and NTADs.
63. The Secretary of the Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (CECAF) Scientific Sub-Committee acknowledged the excellent collaboration that existed between CECAF and the large marine ecosystem project for the Gulf of Guinea financed by GEF. The Representative expressed the wish to see this collaboration strengthened as the CECAF Scientific Sub-Committee had recently established a working group to deal with environmental matters related to artisanal fisheries.
64. The Representative of UNEP described the role that the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) had played in providing the framework and information on marine ecosystem at a global level. He also stated that UNEP and IOC were cooperating to re-tool GOOS in order to re-adjust its objectives to the new development in the marine ecosystems and fisheries global requirements.
65. The Meeting agreed for the need for closer collaboration between RFBs and RSCs. The Meeting also agreed that document RFB/II/2001/7 elaborated by FAO and UNEP be updated. In this connection, the Meeting requested that representatives of RFBs should provide the Secretariat with any contribution in this respect before 31 March 2001.