(Agenda item 9; Documents CWP-20/5)
43. CWP considered the Review of the Requirements for Progress in Fishery Statistics: approaches to statistical development and a global advocacy role for the CWP for Fisheries Statistics which was prepared by a consultant, D. Evans, on behalf of the Secretariat. The review focussed on two options as a basis for possible future advocacy by CWP for improving the quality of fishery statistics. This review had been prepared following the CWP Intersessional Meeting (February 2002) when an earlier draft was reviewed.
44. There was considerable discussion concerning to what extent CWP should involve itself in advocacy for improved statistics and in support of statistical development. While all participants agreed that CWP should play a more active role in drawing attention to shortcomings in current fishery statistics and the need for improvements, opinions varied as to how far this should be taken. It was finally agreed that the first option presented in the Review paper, which involves taking advantage of opportunities as they arise to draw attention to shortcomings and the need for improvement, should be pursued for the foreseeable future. The second option, which would be much more pro-active, would probably require a change to the CWP Statutes and additional funds for a work programme. Although many CWP agencies have a mandate to pursue such initiatives, it is doubtful that CWP has under its current Statutes.
45. There was also considerable discussion concerning the lack of recognition by many governments of the need for reliable statistics as a basis for fisheries policy making and management. It was agreed that a 1-2 day workshop on this topic should be held prior to CWP-21. If the FAO Strategy for Improving Information on Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries is adopted, the workshop could focus on implementation of the Strategy with a focus on the national level, and on the needs of developing countries in particular.
46. It was agreed that in future CWP should aim to promote its work for the improvement of fishery statistics more widely, as at the national level it was little known. In pursuing such wider recognition in future, it is better to avoid the term advocacy when considering CWPs role, but rather to use alternative terms such as advisory.