Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED FISHING


91. In introducing the item, the Chair provided the Committee with a synopsis of the events leading to the elaboration of the draft IPOA-IUU. In so doing, he referred to document COFI/2001/7, COFI/2001/7 Add. and COFI/2001/Inf.10. The Chair also introduced revisions for the text of the draft IPOA-IUU as contained in COFI/2001/7 Add., which resulted from consultations within the informal open-ended "Friends of the Chair" meetings.

92. The Secretariat noted that the idea of development of an IPOA to address IUU fishing was first proposed at the Twenty-third Session of COFI in 1999. The matter was endorsed by a 1999 Fisheries Ministerial Meeting shortly after that Session of COFI. Since then, to address the issue, an Expert Consultation was convened by Australia in cooperation with FAO in May 2000. This meeting was followed by two Technical Consultations at FAO Headquarters in October 2000 and February 2001, respectively. Appendix D to document COFI/2001/7 Add. contained the draft IPOA-IUU as adopted by the Second Technical Consultation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing on 23 February 2001.

93. The Committee expressed its sincere appreciation to Mr Andrew Jackson of the United Kingdom, Chair of the Technical Consultations on IUU Fishing, for his efforts in guiding the Technical Consultation to the successful completion of its work. The Committee also expressed its appreciation to Mr David Balton of the United States of America, Chair of the informal, open-ended "Friends of the Chair" meetings, for his efforts in resolving outstanding concerns of some Members with respect to the draft IPOA-IUU.

94. All Members supported the adoption of the draft IPOA-IUU while recognizing the important need to address IUU fishing in a broad and comprehensive manner. It was noted that the draft IPOA before the Committee was a compromise document concluded within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The Committee further recognized that concerted efforts on the part of all Members would be required to implement the IPOA.

95. Many Members from developing countries expressed their support for the adoption of the draft IPOA-IUU, but also expressed their concern that they would encounter serious constraints in implementing the IPOA if assistance from FAO and the international donor community was not forthcoming.

96. The Committee acknowledged the important role that FAO should play in promoting the implementation of the IPOA-IUU, particularly in the provision of technical assistance to developing countries. Some Members pointed out that funds would be required to facilitate implementation of the IPOA and it was proposed that FAO consider providing Regular Programme funds for this purpose and seek extra-budgetary funding, as appropriate.

97. The recommendations of the Joint FAO/IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Related Matters, which met at FAO Headquarters, Rome, in October 2000, were noted by the Committee. It was agreed that FAO should continue to cooperate with IMO, as appropriate, on these issues.

98. The delegation of the European Community stated that the text of the IPOA-IUU could have been stronger to stress States' responsibilities. The European Community considered that the IPOA had been formulated for political reasons and as an international commitment to combat IUU fishing. The European Community recorded its concern that the definition of IUU fishing in paragraph 3 of the IPOA-IUU is not entirely appropriate, but could be accepted in the interest of supporting adoption of the IPOA with the understanding that the European Community would not recognize this definition as having any force other than in the context of the IPOA-IUU. The delegation of the European Community also stated that the IPOA is not a legal text but a political text. Canada supported the points raised by the European Community.

99. The delegation of Antigua and Barbuda advised the Committee that it operated an open-register for vessels and while it had some concerns about the text of the IPOA-IUU, it nonetheless supported its adoption. The delegation of Antigua and Barbuda further advised the Committee that it had reservations on paragraphs 27, 38 and 39 of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001.

100. The delegation of Indonesia supported the adoption of the IPOA-IUU and noted the problems of IUU fishing within its EEZ. The delegation of Indonesia advised the Committee that its reservation placed on paragraph 21 of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001 had been lifted. Indonesia while reiterating that the developing countries should be supported and assisted by FAO and donor countries in the development and implementation of their national action plans, also urged that the implementation of the IPOA, especially with regard to port State measures and market-related measures, be applied in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

101. The delegation of the Philippines supported the IPOA-IUU and suggested that in paragraph 76, more positive language should be used in its directive to FAO and lending institutions for training and capacity building. Specifically, the delegation of Philippines preferred the substitution of the word "consider" in the third line of paragraph 76 with the word "shall".

102. The delegation of Japan stated that it supported the adoption of the IPOA-IUU. The delegation of Japan also advised the Committee that it had reservations on paragraphs 45 and 69bis of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001.

103. The delegation of Mexico noted that the IPOA-IUU, which is a voluntary instrument, offered a range of alternative tools to combat IUU fishing but this did not imply that States were obligated to use all of them, as it was the sovereign right of each State to decide which tools might be used. In this connection, the adoption of the IPOA-IUU does not affect, nor should it be understood as affecting, the rights and obligations of States, in accordance with international law, and neither prejudice the position of States in other international fora.

104. The delegation of Norway stated that Norway reserved its right to exercise stronger measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing than was reflected in the IPOA-IUU.

105. The delegation of Canada reaffirmed that it was highly supportive of the goal of the draft IPOA. The delegation explained the policy rationale for maintaining reservations over paragraphs 20.10 and 70.7bis of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001 and paragraphs from 53bis to 66 relating to Internationally Agreed Market Related Measures. The full text of the intervention of the delegation of Canada is given in Appendix F. Canada made the following reservations:

"The IPOA on IUU fishing was developed for the purpose of addressing the same issues than those addressed by global instruments developed by the international community, in particular the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its 1995 Implementation Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. The objective of the IUU initiative was to develop a comprehensive, effective and transparent toolbox of measures that States could use to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. Canada feels that this objective was not fully achieved with the current draft text of the IPOA. Moreover, an important 'state of the art' tool was left out of the text which Canada believes should have been expressly included."

"Canada considers that the international community has accepted that boarding and inspection regimes should include requirements for fishing vessels to permit access by duly authorized inspectors from regional fisheries management organizations or states other than the flag state. Canada accepts that Members consider that the IPOA includes such measure. Canada considers, however, that such measure should have been set out explicitly in order to meet the objectives set out in the IPOA and, more generally, promote good fisheries conservation and management practices."

"For these reasons, Canada feels it must put a reservation on paragraphs 20.10 and 70.7bis of the draft IPOA on IUU fishing."

"Canada reserves its position with respect to the section of the draft International Plan of Action on IUU fishing titled "Internationally Agreed Market-Related Measures" (paragraphs 53(bis) to 66). Canada recognizes the right of states, consistent with the Marrakech Agreement establishing the WTO, to adopt or enforce measures relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources. Canada does not, at this time, endorse as an automatic policy, an undertaking to apply sanctions with respect to trade in fish and fish products in cases of IUU fishing with respect to all regional fisheries management organizations. Rather, states should decide on the use of trade measures on a case-by- case basis, having due regard to the specific circumstances."

106. The delegation of Canada formally requested that the text of its reservations be included in the IPOA-IUU as an Annex, as well as in the report of the Session. On this basis, Canada withdrew its general reservation on the draft IPOA-IUU, and invited the Chair to move for the adoption of the draft IPOA-IUU contained in COFI/2001/7 Add. Without further discussion, the Chair stated that the reservation of the delegation of Canada, like those of other delegations, would be faithfully reflected in the report of the Session.

107. The delegation of Chile, while supporting the adoption of the IPOA-IUU, reminded the meeting that important efforts were being developed to combat IUU fishing. In this regard, Chile, Australia, Peru, United States of America and the European Community were working together to create an international information network on monitoring, control and surveillance against IUU fishing. This work resulted from an international conference on monitoring, control and surveillance, that was held in Santiago, Chile, in January 2000.

108. The Committee adopted, by consensus, the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, as contained in Appendix D of COFI/2001/7 Add., and as modified by the results of the informal, open-ended "Friends of the Chair" meetings and with an amendment inserted in Plenary. The Committee urged all Members to take the necessary steps to effectively implement the IPOA-IUU. The IPOA-IUU is given in Appendix G.

109. The delegation of Argentina expressed its concern about the present situation of over-exploitation of fishery resources in the adjacent area to its EEZ. The delegation of Argentina informed the Committee that 300 squid jiggers were operating between 201 and 215 nautical miles from Argentina's coast. In view of the large number of vessels and their presumed catches, Argentina was concerned that such fishing would have a negative and direct impact on the resources of Argentina's EEZ. The delegation of Argentina recalled its country's primary interest as a Coastal State in the conservation of fishery resources in the adjacent area to its EEZ. While Argentina had no intention to exercise jurisdiction beyond its EEZ, Argentina called upon all States with vessels fishing in the area to implement the guidelines of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries relating to those operations. Moreover, Argentina called upon countries whose fishing vessels operated in the adjacent area to its EEZ to cooperate with the conservation goals that Argentina had in place and to ensure compatible behaviour with those goals. The delegation of Argentina expressed its satisfaction with the adoption of the IPOA to combat IUU fishing and invited all Members to take steps to implement it. Furthermore, the delegation of Argentina made the following declaration:

"The Argentine Republic interprets that the term "entities" contained in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and in the International Plans of Action adopted within its framework, including the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing just adopted, refers to the entities referred to in article 305 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea."

110. The Secretariat was requested to disseminate widely the IPOA and to transmit it to Members, regional fisheries management organizations, relevant intergovernmental organizations and NGOs.

111. Given the international importance of IUU fishing and the need to address it, the Members agreed that the issue and the IPOA-IUU be further considered at the Twenty-fifth Session of COFI. Of particular interest to Members at the next Session of COFI would be the progress achieved in implementing the IPOA-IUU.


Previous Page Top of Page Next Page