26. The Committee noted that the twenty-third Session of COFI adopted the three International Plans of Action (IPOAs) on: (a) the Management of Fishing Capacity; (b) the Conservation and Management of Sharks and (c) the Reduction of Incidental Catch of Seabirds by Longline Fisheries. The Committee acknowledged that the development of these important policy documents was a significant way to promote collaborative action on important issues, and commended the positive role that international scientific consultation and collaboration had played in the development of the IPOAs.
27. The Committee recognized that the management of capacity involved significant investment in research and data acquisition. It noted that fishing capacity was likely to be hard to measure and related to fishery management failures and fishery rights issues, including subsidies. The Committee further noted that the Conference on Rights-based Fishing in Australia and the Technical Consultation on the Measurement of Fishing Capacity in Mexico, both held in November 1999, were positive initiatives which would complement the work on fishing capacity. The Committee suggested that an important area of research would be on the options for rights-based fishery management, emphasizing options that might be appropriate for small-scale fisheries in developing countries, and impact of subsidies on the management of fishing capacity.
28. The Committee learned that the Fisheries Department had also undertaken research on sharks, in particular on their distribution, taxonomy and fishery description, both as target fisheries and as bycatch, and on their trade.
29. The Committee noted that the reference to research on fisheries technology to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds by longlines required investigation of cost effective methods and the ways of evaluating them.
30. The Committee noted that FAO, in collaboration with Australia, had undertaken activities on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Government of Australia had seconded an expert to work in the Fisheries Department with the main task of assisting in analysing data obtained and preparing an expert consultation on IUU. The expert consultation would be organized by the Government of Australia in cooperation with FAO in May 2000 in Sydney. The main task would be to draft an international plan of action on IUU. A technical consultation on the subject would be organized by FAO in Rome in October 2000 to discuss the draft IPOA, amend it and eventually submit it to the Twenty-fourth Session of COFI in February 2001.