Main Outcomes of the Second Session

FAO, Rome,

  6-9 December 1999












1. The Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR) held its Second Session in Rome from 6-9 December 1999. The Committee examined its work since the First Session, undertook an appraisal of FAO’s fisheries research-related programmes and elaborated the Committee’s work for the inter-sessional period (1999-2000).

2. The Committee noted the successful inter-sessional period in particular, the results of the Meeting of FAO and non-FAO regional fishery bodies and arrangements and the conduct of and preparation of reports by the three Working Parties instructed at the First Session.

3. The Committee acknowledged that the development of and adoption of the three International Plans of Action (IPOA) on the Management of Fishing Capacity, the Conservation and Management of Sharks and the Reduction of Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries at the Twenty-third Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI), 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 these IPOAs.



4. The Committee reviewed its role within FAO’s recently adopted Strategic Framework (2000-2015) and the Fisheries Department’s Medium-Term Perspectives and underscored the need to extract and consider the research priorities that stem from these.

5. The Committee appreciated the efforts of the Fisheries Department to report on research-related activities and acknowledged the importance and quality of the work and the great extent of the product. It reiterated that the Fisheries Department must prioritize its work or the overall high standard for quality that it has received to date will be jeopardized.

6. The Committee emphasized the importance for FAO staff to continue to function as high-level professionals by participating in international meetings and to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

7. The Committee acknowledged the emphasis by staff to create tools to compile information time series in support of a very wide range of analyses, including the preparation of SOFIA, Resource Reviews and to provide the public with access to the global fisheries database. It recommended that priority should be given to including socio-economic data, including information on aquaculture and marine and freshwater small-scale fisheries. The Committee encouraged the Fisheries Department to continue to develop and widely disseminate tools to assist less-developed countries in participating in statistical programmes.

8. The Committee recognized that the major advances in the technology for managing and delivering information embraced by the Fisheries Department has been a very positive step. However, it also noted that particular consideration should be given to making sure the information is well suited to the needs of people in less-developed countries concerned with small-scale fisheries and aquaculture.


9. The Committee suggested that the future role of ACFR should include the identification of periodic specialized and technically oriented reviews and to offer recommendations on ways that these should be concluded, including their objectives, terms of reference and participants.

10. The Committee identified a number of key research areas, which merited emphasis. These include the methodological, analytical and descriptive research into the nature and applicability of fishing rights and the benefits that can be gained from their application in fisheries management, the development of a framework for setting of medium-term research priorities, in particular for small scale marine and freshwater capture fisheries and small scale aquaculture in developing countries, as well as the extension of studies on fleet trends including methodological studies to smaller vessels focusing on a limited sample of countries where better data is available.

11. The Committee agreed to recommend to the Director-General continuation of the activities of the three Working Parties, including the revised and enhanced directions for the Working Party on Implications of Globalization on Trade and Distribution of Benefits. In particular, the Committee emphasized the importance of establishing an International Plan of Action for Status and Trends Reporting in Fisheries as a means to enhancing advice to the Director-General and COFI of the most up-to-date and accurate view of the prospects for maintaining or enhancing fish production.

12. Finally, the Committee noted that the emphasis for the next session would be on a review of its intersessional activities, a review of small-scale fisheries including inland fisheries and aquaculture, review and finalization of the draft International Plan of Action for Status and Trends Reporting for Fisheries and contribution to Fisheries Department Research Programme and Project priority setting.