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1. The Executive Committee of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) held its Sixty-eighth Session at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand, from 5 to 7 July 2000 under the chairmanship of Mr. Malcolm I. Sarmiento, Jr., Chairman of APFIC. The list of participants is given in Appendix B.

2. At the Opening of the Session, Dr. R.B. Singh, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative of FAO, welcomed the members of the Executive Committee on behalf of the Director-General. He emphasized the importance of fisheries as a main source of food as well as important sources of export earning and employment in the region. As APFIC has provided assistance to its Member States for half a century, he commended the role played by the Commission in promoting fisheries and aquaculture development in the region and stressed the urgent need for the Member States to reinvigorate APFIC to face new challenges in its future programme. In this connection, he assured the Committee the continued support by FAO on its future role and requested all members of the Committee to advise and assist in obtaining more support from the Member States for APFIC’s future programmes.

3. In his introductory address, the Chairman of APFIC recalled the establishment of the Commission in the Philippines in 1948 and expressed his appreciation for the services rendered by the Commission to foster the development of fisheries and aquaculture in the region for the past 52 years. He noted the challenges faced by APFIC at present and suggested that the Commission should adapt itself to be more responsive to the new requirements with full support from FAO. He expressed hope that the Executive Committee would advise on future direction of APFIC to ensure its usefulness in assisting its Member States in the new millennium.

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