GENERAL FISHERIES COMMISSION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN
Report of the
Consultation on the Application of Article 9 of the FAO Code of Conduct
for Responsible Fisheries in the Mediterranean Region
Rome, Italy, 19-23 July 1999
MINISTERO PER LE POLITICHE AGRICOLE DIREZIONE GENERALE DELLA PESCA E DELL’ACQUACOLTURA
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
PREPARATION OF THIS DOCUMENT
The report of this Consultation is the final activity of a special project requested and financed by the Italian Government, through its Ministry of Agricultural Policies. The Consultation was organized as a result of recommendations of the FAO Committee on Fisheries and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. This is the final version of the report of the Consultation on the Application of Article 9 of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Mediterranean Region, Rome, Italy, 19-23 July 1999.
Participants at the meeting
GFCM Mailing List
FAO Regional and Sub-Regional Fisheries Officers
FAO Fisheries Department
Report of the Consultation on the Application of Article 9 of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Mediterranean Region. Rome, Italy, 19-23 July 1999.
Rapport de la Consultation sur l’application de l’article 9 du Code de conduite pour une pêche responsable de la FAO dans la région méditerranéenne. Rome, Italie, 19-23 juillet 1999.
FAO Fisheries Report/FAO Rapport sur les pêches. No. 606. Rome, FAO. 1999. 208p.
The Consultation on the Application of Article 9 of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Mediterranean Region was the final activity of a special project (TEMP/RER/908/MUL) requested and financed by the Italian Government. It was held at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 19 to 23 July 1999. It was attended by delegations from 20 members of GFCM and by observers.
The Consultation discussed two working documents presented by the Secretariat. The first was the synthesis of the national reports prepared by the countries, and the second was a proposal for elements to be considered for the preparation of action plans at national and regional levels.
Three Working Groups were created to discuss the elements dealing with: dissemination of the Code and improvement of the planning process (Working Group 1), enhancement of harmonization between aquaculture development and environmental conservation (Working Group 2), and use of the Code to upgrade the economic value of aquaculture and to improve and stabilize trade in aquaculture products in the Mediterranean (Working Group 3). The three Working Group evaluated the document provided by the Secretariat and improved the list of proposed activities. These were also ranked in order of priority at national and regional level and general mechanisms for their implementation were also proposed. The Consultation recommended that the GFCM be the umbrella institution for implementation of the programme of activities identified by the Working Groups.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OPENING OF THE SESSION
1. The Consultation was opened by Mr Z. Karnicki on behalf of the Director-General of FAO and the Officer-in-Charge, Fisheries Department. The meeting was attended by participants from 20 members of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and observers from the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (ICAMAS), the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) and the Information System for Promotion of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean (SIPAM) (the List of Participants is attached as Appendix B). In his opening speech, Mr Karnicki thanked the Italian Government for requesting the Consultation and for the generous support provided. He highlighted the central role of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries for the regular programme activities of the Fisheries Department and indicated that this Consultation was the first attempt to regionalize the interpretation of the Code on matters concerning aquaculture development. The text of his statement is reproduced in Appendix C.
2. The Italian delegation read a note from the Minister of Agricultural Policies, Dr Paolo di Castro, in which he reiterated the commitment of the Italian Government to the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) and to the development of aquaculture both in Italy and in the Mediterranean region (Appendix D).
3. The meeting elected Prof. S. Cataudella (Italy) as Chairperson and Mrs D. Stephanou (Cyprus) as Vice-Chairperson. The Agenda, which is attached as Appendix A, was adopted without changes.
PRESENTATION OF NATIONAL REPORTS BY GFCM COUNTRIES
4. In the first technical point of the adopted Agenda, the participants from countries who had prepared national reports presented the situation of their aquaculture sector and reported on the degree of adoption of principles of the Code in their legislations, policies and plans. Some additional countries presented verbal reports which were not written or synthesized. The difficulties which had been encountered in adopting these principles by certain sectors of the population were also mentioned. Issues treated included such matters as the changes in administration and related adjustments in countries in transition and the difficulties of sectors of the population to accept the principles of the Code. The incipient recovery of aquaculture production in countries in transition is also limited by several factors. Amongst these are the lack of means to promote and apply more intensive forms of production; some countries expressed the need to harmonize legislation with that of the EC; problems of reconversion and privatization of state farms; problems of restitution of land titles and a relatively long process for drafting new legislation which seemed to be an ongoing process in several countries. The lack of financial resources also hampered the recovery process for this sector.
5. Several countries indicated problems of acceptance of integration of aquaculture by parts of the society, in particular, fishing communities and the tourism industry. In some countries aquaculture was presented by some sectors of the society as a polluting industry. The need to harmonize legislation with that of the EC appeared to be a common feature in some countries as well as the process of preparation/revision of national aquaculture plans. Some countries emphasized the importance of freshwater aquaculture and the fact that legislative harmonization was not always required. Several countries have reported the inclusion of the principles of sustainability contained in the Code in their legislation and regulations, although not always taken directly from the Code itself. It was reported that the zoning of areas to be dedicated to aquaculture has commenced in some countries which was a first stage for a better integration in coastal zone management plans. This process was however, not yet common in the countries of the Mediterranean region. The development of aquaculture as a means of reducing fishing pressure has been promoted in various countries but the results vary and in some cases there was resistance to this idea in the fishing communities. The limited flow of information on the positive aspects of aquaculture development has been repeatedly reported as a constraint and attempts to redress the situation vis-à-vis the media were ongoing. Finally, the general perception was that more should be done using existing regulations and applying them. The participation of the private sector in the planning and drafting of legislation, although desirable, was still very incipient.
SYNTHESIS OF NATIONAL REPORTS
6. This agenda item was presented by the Secretariat on the basis of the document "Synthesis of the National Reports" which was discussed and is appended as Appendix E.
ELEMENTS FOR THE ACTION PLANS1
7. The Secretariat presented the document "Elements of an Action Plan for the Promotion of Responsible Aquaculture in the Mediterranean" which was discussed and is appended as Appendix F.
8. After the presentation and discussion of the Elements, three Working Groups were formed (Appendix G). The first group was to examine Elements A and B of the document prepared by the Secretariat, the second group Element C and the third group was to elaborate on Elements D and E. These three Working Groups were requested to draft three documents to revise the activities proposed by the Secretariat, to rank the activities selected in terms of national and regional priorities and to provide suggestions and recommendations on the mechanism to be put in place for their implementation.
9. The reports of the three Working Groups are included as Appendix H.
10. On Element A on diffusion of the Code, the Working Group adopted with modifications the activities proposed by the Secretariat adding three new points on:
- the establishment of core groups called "Ambassadors of the Code" to create awareness at country level;
- use of electronic information systems and networks such as AQUAFLOW, EC Web Page and SIPAM for diffusion of information, and
- a recommendation addressed to FAO, GFCM and national organizations to secure funds for dissemination and application of the Code.
The highest priority was given to the preparation of material addressed to various target groups, in local languages.
11. Regarding Element B on improvement of the planning process the Working Group regrouped activities 3 and 4 of the document into a single one and added two new activities on:
- the definition of standards of production (defined on the basis of data collected in the region), to be used in the processes of planning and production, and
- the development of codes of practice to be linked to legislation, which should be prepared with the assistance of associations or organizations of producers.
The highest priority both at national and regional level was given to the preparation of standards for responsible production.
12. Element C, on interactions between aquaculture and environment, was subject to several modifications in respect of the interpretation of the activities which had been suggested by the Secretariat. Eight main activities were retained as priorities at the national level. Topics were broadened in several activities and new points were added for:
- environmental impact assessment studies standardization (to be defined per production system and site);
- improvement of management of existing production systems, which included a number of subheadings, and
- a recommendation to enhance and fund research on all aspects of interactions between aquaculture and the environment.
Four activities were selected as regional priorities. The activity which was granted the highest priority was the standardization of environmental impact analysis.
13. Element D on the utilization of the Code as a means of upgrading the economic value of aquaculture had five objectives as proposed by the Secretariat. The Working Group in charge of this Element amalgamated the fourth and fifth objectives and, in addition to modifying the text of some of the activities suggested, added activities under the heading D2 (Promotion and reinforcement of the role of associations of aquaculture producers as a mechanism to ensure the application of the Code) on the following aspects:
- promotion of establishment of national aquaculture associations;
- initiation of coordination at regional level to facilitate harmonization, and
- training and other support measures required by the associations and their staff.
On heading D4 (Improvement of the public image of aquaculture in order to get appropriate recognition of its products in both the private and public sectors) an additional activity was added on the use of the quality of aquaculture products to promote the activities of the sector. The highest priority in sub-element D1 (Better understanding of the criteria and techniques for sustainable aquaculture) was attributed to the promotion of research to optimize existing production systems, which was a subject also dealt with in relation to the interactions with environment. In sub-element D2, the highest priority was for the development of aquaculture in support of local communities through the encouragement of appropriate measures (promotion, legal). In the case of sub-element D3 (To establish administrative and financial measures leading to the promotion of sustainable and responsible aquaculture production), the highest priority was attributed to the creation of specific credit lines favouring responsible aquaculture practices. Finally in sub-element D4, the use of the quality of aquaculture to promote the activities of the aquaculture sector received the highest priority.
14. Concerning Element E on the use of the Code to improve and stabilize trade in aquaculture products, the Working Group added two new activities on:
- harmonization of the legal conditions of the transfer and transport of the fry and juveniles within the Mediterranean region, and
- promotion of the consumption of farmed marine fish.
The highest priority was given to upgrading standards for production, processing and transport and promotion of their application. The nine activities retained by the Working Group on this Element were regrouped by the moderator and rapporteur into four main activities with sub-activities.
15. The participants have considered that GFCM is the appropriate institution to take care of the implementation of the regional priorities. They have also indicated that the Secretariat should contribute to the preparation of the proposals which have been retained by the Working Groups.
GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE PROPOSALS OF THE WORKING GROUPS
16. On the final day of the Consultation, its members discussed the reports of the three Working Groups. The Secretariat provided a synthesis of these reports. The aggregation of some repetitious components of the Action Plan was suggested. A number of minor inconsistencies in the ranking of priorities by the different groups both from a national and regional point of view were also pointed out. Following a request from the participants in the Consultation, the Secretariat agreed to edit the three reports, but not to change the activities proposed or the rankings decided in any way.
17. The discussion centred around the transfer of live fish, impact studies, the application of existing codes referring to introductions of non-indigenous species and the ranking of activities. The results of these discussions will be reflected in the edited reports of the three Working Groups (attached as Appendix H).
ADOPTION OF THE REPORT
18. The report of the Consultation was adopted on 23 July 1999. By acclamation, the Consultation thanked the Italian Government for the substantial contribution which made the Consultation possible.
Although countries are mentioned in the text and tables, the rankings represent the views of the participants and not necessarily those of the national authorities