THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO INLAND FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT
This paper discusses the background and steps taken by FAO and other organizations to support the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, with particular reference to inland fisheries and aquaculture development. Inland fisheries are a special case in terms of management because of their multi-purpose use regimes and also because of the many strategies in the use of inland waters for fisheries. These situations impact on the approach to be adopted in terms of the Code. FAO is elaborating specific guidelines for inland fisheries, that would address the critical management and production issues of the sub-sector. The inland fisheries guidelines together with other guidelines that have been published or are being developed as well as the FAO/World Bank. Strategy for the implementation and monitoring of the Code should assist States and the civil society as a whole with the effective and expeditious implementation of the Code. Members of the Committee are invited to report on their national experiences in implementing the Code and to provide other advice regarding reporting on inland fisheries and aquaculture in the region. The Committee is also requested to collaborate with the pre-testing of the questionnaire for monitoring the implementation of the Code.
1. The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was adopted by the Twenty-eighth Session of the FAO Conference in October 1995. Voluntary in nature, the Code covers all fisheries (including aquaculture) and related activities.1 It seeks to ensure that aquatic resources are exploited and utilized responsibly and in accordance with the principles of sustainability. In addition to an article on general principles, the Code addresses, in subsequent articles, fisheries management, fishing operations, aquaculture development, integration of fisheries into coastal area management, post-harvest practices and trade, and fisheries research.
2. Technical guidelines covering various areas of the Code are being developed to assist States with its effective and expeditious implementation. So far, guidelines for fishing operations, the precautionary approach to capture fisheries and species introductions, integration of fisheries into coastal area management, fisheries management and aquaculture development have been published and distributed. Other guidelines are currently in preparation, including inland fisheries.
3. Inland fisheries and aquaculture in member countries of CIFA play a critical role in food security and the generation of employment and income opportunities, very often for the poorest and most disadvantaged population groups. Consequently, it is essential that inland fisheries be exploited in a sustainable manner and that aquaculture be developed in accordance with sound and sustainable practices if national food security interests are to be served and if the poorest and disadvantages population groups and fishing communities are to continue to benefit from wild, enhanced and cultivated fisheries resources.
II. CODE ARTICLES AND TECHNICAL GUIDELINES RELATING TO INLAND FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT
4. Inland fisheries are defined as any activity conducted to extract fish and other aquatic organisms (both wild and enhanced resources) from inland waters of continents and islands, that is, lakes, reservoirs, swamps/flood plains, and rivers including estuaries upto the breaker line. In the context of the Code, inland fisheries are a special case in terms of management, principally because most inland waters are controlled by interests other than fisheries such as power generation, navigation, agriculture or urban demand. This means that much of the policy for allocation of the aquatic resource and its physical context are subject to decisions taken external to the fishery. Under these circumstances States should take such measures as are necessary to protect their inland waters, in conformity with the Code, by enlarging participation in basin management. This in turn requires an extension of the principles of Article 10 of the Code (integration of fisheries into coastal area management) to cover river and lake basins, and the establishment of negotiation mechanisms to protect inland fisheries under multi-purpose use regimes.
5. In addition to the above, the current management strategies used in inland waters for fisheries further impacts on the approach to be adopted in terms of the Code. The four current strategies are:
6. Each of these patterns of use require a somewhat different approach to the Code. For example, the first and fourth strategies correspond most closely to those applying in unconstrained marine fisheries in that they do not seek to manipulate the stock other than be removal of fish and the provisions of FAO technical guidelines for fisheries management should be taken into consideration. Equally, strategy two approaches sometimes overlaps with aquaculture and here the provisions of the FAO technical guidelines on aquaculture development are relevant. In general the first and fourth strategies, relying as they do on natural reproduction and productivity, can conform well to the more conservation orientated articles of the Code. However, the other two strategies more closely resemble agriculture in that they deliberately set out to manipulate the population structure and productivity of inland waters in the interests of the goals defined by society for food or recreation. In this great care has to be taken in interpreting the Code. Further aggravating this situation are the impacts of external forces which in many cases constrain the fishery and add to the trend towards non-sustainability. Much of the current fisheries management is devoted to managing of the environment in order to mitigate such impacts.
7. Technical guidelines that address these and other critical inland fisheries management and production issues are being elaborated by FAO and should be ready for distributed by FAO in early 1998.
8. Article 9 of the Code concerns aquaculture development. The article covers the following principles: responsible development of aquaculture, including culture-based fisheries, (i) in areas under national jurisdiction, and (ii) within transboundary aquatic ecosystems, the use of aquatic genetic resources for the purposes of aquaculture including culture-based fisheries, and responsible aquaculture at production level.
9. The technical guidelines for aquaculture development is structured in a similar way to Article 9 of the Code. In this way easy cross-referencing between Article 9 and the technical guidelines is facilitated. Like for inland fisheries some of the other technical guidelines which have already been issued by FAO (see paragraph 2) also contain material of direct relevance to aquaculture, including culture-based fisheries.
10. The guidelines are expected to be dynamic nature. From time to time guidelines concerning particular aspects of aquaculture development will be elaborated. Indeed, several such guidelines are already under preparation, including guidelines for quarantine and health certification for the responsible movement of aquatic organisms, guidelines for good aquaculture feed manufacturing practice, guidelines for the responsible introduction of species, a code of hygiene practice for the products of aquaculture, guidelines and criteria for responsible enhancement of measures for culture-based fisheries, a manual and technical guidelines for the rehabilitation of rivers and improvement of fish habitats, and guidelines on the integration of agriculture, forestry and fisheries into coastal management.
III. DISSEMINATION AND PROMOTION OF THE CODE
11. Article 4 of the Code states that members and non-members of FAO, fishing entities and relevant sub-regional, regional and global organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental, and all persons concerned with the conservation, management and utilization of fisheries resources and trade in fish and fishery products should collaborate in the fulfilment and implementation of the objectives and principles contained in the Code.
12. To this end FAO alone, and in concert with its members and other organizations, has taken a number of steps to disseminate and promote activities in support of the implementation of the Code. The issues of dissemination and promotion are being addressed comprehensively at government level, through industry channels and with inter- and non-governmental organizations. In addition, some States at their own initiative, have taken measures, including the sponsoring of national workshops, to promote the Code and to ensure that the fishing industry, for example, is well briefed on its technical aspects.
13. Some of the dissemination and promotion initiatives persued by FAO in support of the implement the Code include:
14. In the CIFA region the Programme for Integrated Development of Artisanal Fisheries in West Africa (IDAF) intends to organize a regional workshop on the Code early in 1998.
15. The highly valuable role being played by non-governmental organizations in promoting and assisting with the implementation of the Code is recognized by FAO. The Organization has established sound working relations with many of these organizations and will continue to cooperate with them on fisheries matters in the context of the Code. At both the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Sessions of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) consultations were held with non-governmental organizations in respect of fisheries matters of common concern, including the implementation of the Code. To this end some of the non-governmental organizations that have taken specific action to promote and implement it by organising workshops and by translating the Code into languages other than those of FAO.
IV. STRATEGY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CODE
16. FAO is in the final stages of elaborating a strategy for the implementation of the Code for the period 1998 to 2002. The strategy is designed to facilitate the implementation of the Code in a coherent, integrated and practical manner. The strategy is intended both for FAO and other outside FAO concerned with promoting rational and sustainable practice in the fisheries sector. To this end, FAO is committed to working closely with its members in regionally adapting the Code and others organizations and groups (e.g. NGOs) concerned with its implementation.
17. One of the key aspects of the strategy is the regional adaptation of the Code in order that it meets the particular needs of different regions and fisheries. This adaptation is expected to foster greater regional and national acceptance of the Code and to facilitate the implementation of policy changes required in the fisheries sector to secure long-term sustainable resource use.
18. The strategy also addresses priority issues for the implementation of the Code, together with a review of some of the implementational constraints and their possible solutions. The activities are highlighted in terms of field related or predominately operational, regional and sub-regional and headquarters or normative activities.
V. MONITORING AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CODE
19. In adopting the Code at its Twenty-eighth session in 1995, the FAO Conference called upon FAO to monitor and report on the implementation of the Code and its effects on fisheries, including action taken under other instruments and resolutions by UN organizations.
20. At its Twenty-first Session COFI agreed "that a progress report on implementation of the Code should be presented every two years which would include information on FAO activities, proposed guidelines to implement the Code and on inter-regional programmes, as well as application at national level. Members would provide information on national implementation using a questionnaire to be designed by the Secretariat."4 This position was restated at the Twenty-second Session of COFI.
21. To facilitate reporting on the Code FAO is developing a questionnaire that will be distributed to all FAO members, initially in mid-1998. Information provided by members will be analysed by FAO and it will form the basis for COFI reporting on the implementation of the Code. The questionnaire will invite information of a general nature concerning the measures taken by States to nationally implement the Code, together with more detailed and specific information on Articles 7-12. To gauge applicability, the questionnaire will be tested with members at some sessions of FAO regional fishery bodies, including the Tenth Session of CIFA. Based on this testing procedure, appropraite modifications will then be made before the questionnaire is distributed to the FAO membership. Such a questionnaire will be distributed every second year to secure information from FAO members on their efforts to implement the Code.
VI. SUGGESTED ACTION BY THE COMMITTEE
22. Members of the Committee are invited to (i) report on national experiences in the promotion of the Code (ii) advise on other mechanisms and strategies that could be used to ensure its more effective implementation, (iii) monitor its effects on inland fisheries and aquaculture development, and (iv) decide on the frequency and modality of reporting to the Committee.
23. Members of the Committee are informed that FAO would, as directed by the Twenty-second Session of COFI, provide questionnaires for national reporting on implementation of the Code. These questionnaires will serve to facilitate and standardise reporting among States and across regions. In this connection, members of the Committee are invited to cooperate with the pre-testing of the questionnaire at this Session of the Committee.
|1||This means that, as a voluntary instrument, the Code of Conduct does not have to be formally accepted by States.|
|2||Some of these translations are unofficial, intended for internal government or other purposes only.|
|3||Additionally, the Fisheries Department has prepared a directory of fisheries organizations, including more than 3 800 mailing addresses, to which the Code has been distributed. It was also disseminated through well known fisheries magazines and newspapers.|
|4||FAO. 1995. "Report of the Twenty-first Session of the Committee on Fisheries". FAO Fisheries Report No. 524. FAO. Rome. 61 p.|