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(Agenda item 15; Document CWP-20/FAO and CWP-20/Inf.3)

71. FAO outlined the history of the approaches and progress towards the development of FAO’s draft strategy on improving information on the status and trends of capture fisheries. The process began with the consideration and recommendation on improved status and trends of fisheries by the FAO Advisory Committee of Fisheries Research in 1998. To follow up this recommendation, the ACFR established a Working Party on Status and Trends of Fisheries which then prepared a draft International Plan of Action (IPOA) which was largely modelled on other IPOAs (e.g. sharks, seabirds and fishing capacity, IUU). The Committee on Fisheries had asked FAO to establish a technical consultation which was held in March 2002, and which was able to agree on the full range of required actions (see Report of the Technical Consultation on Improving Information on the Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries, FAO Fisheries Report No.680). In further support of the issue, the technical consultation objected to calling the subject area an International Plan of Action, because IPOAs are usually time bound and concentrate on specific problems. The consultation also agreed that status and trends of fisheries and improvement to global understanding of them would be ongoing and broad, and hence it should be called a continuing Strategy.

72. The meeting noted that the CWP has participated according to its mandate in the meeting of Regional Fishery Bodies (RFBs) and the above-mentioned technical consultation. The RFBs have also participated in the development of the proposed FAO Strategy for Improving Information on Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries. The meeting agreed that CWP would be prepared to facilitate implementation of the Strategy within areas of its mandate.

73. SEAFDEC noted the recognition of the need for capacity building in developing countries that was primarily addressed in “Strategy Part 5: Required Actions”, and that CWP should promote the role of CWP in supporting such actions within the proposed Strategy.

74. Following considerable discussion on the position CWP could take in relation to the proposed Strategy at the forthcoming COFI meeting, it was agreed that the CWP position, which should be conveyed to COFI, is as follows:

Many elements of the proposed Strategy fall within the remit of the CWP and CWP is striving towards the same objective as that specified in paragraph 12 of the Strategy document, albeit in the narrower context of statistics;

In pursuit of its drive for improved fishery statistics at the national, regional and global levels, CWP supports the proposed Strategy as an overall framework within which its own aims clearly lie;

CWP is prepared to actively facilitate implementation of the Strategy for those elements of the Strategy which fall under its mandate.

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