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24. The Working Group reviewed emerging issues in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the region, including those identified by the Commission at its last session, namely:

25. The Working Group was further informed by the Secretariat that, in replying the questionnaires, some Members further suggested that APFIC could serve as a vehicle to assist the Member States in the region achieve sustainable fisheries and aquaculture to secure livelihood of the rural and coastal populations dependent on fishery resources, particularly, through the implementation of the international instruments and arrangements such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the Compliance Agreement and the 1995 UN Fish Stock Agreement.

26. The Member States also ranked the priority of the future programmes of activities as follows:

a) Development of national fishery policies towards attaining sustainability of fisheries and fishery resources;

b) Collection, dissemination and exchange of fishery information and statistics;

c) Development of responsible aquaculture;

d) Marine fisheries management and related research; and

e) Acceleration of transfer of appropriate technology and capacity building in the fisheries sector.

27. The Working Group discussed the above priority areas for future programmes of work of APFIC and agreed that the areas identified remain valid. However, on the regional basis, it suggested the following categorization:
a) Short-term:
i) Harmonization of fishery policies toward attending the sustainability of fisheries and fishery resources; and

ii) Development and standardization of fishery statistical systems and promotion of fishery information exchanges;

b) Medium term:
i) Promotion of effective marine fisheries management and related marine resource research;

ii) Development of sustainable aquaculture; and

iii) Acceleration of the transfer of appropriate technology and capacity building in the fishery sector.

28. Several members of the Working Group stressed the need to collaborate with other international organizations in the region to avoid duplication of efforts in carrying out these programme of work by APFIC.

29. The Working Group further agreed that the more appropriate role that APFIC could play, in view of the existence of many regional and subregional fishery bodies in the region, is that of a regional consultative forum to facilitate discussion of approaches to address capture fishery and aquaculture issues among the Member States, FAO, other regional bodies as well as donor agencies interested in fisheries management and development programmes in the region. The Working Group noted a proposal whereby these regional consultative forums meeting on a biennium basis could provide inputs and guidance to regional programming workshop involving all concerned States, partners and donor agencies. While welcoming this proposal, the Secretariat pointed out that FAO may not be able to finance this activity and thus extra-budgetary funds would be required for such a regional workshop.

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