52. The Secretariat presented this Agenda Item based on documents GFCM/XXVIII/2003/4 and GFCM/XXVIII/2003/Inf.6. These documents described issues common to combating IUU fishing and managing fishing capacity, mainly as addressed in the respective International Plans of Action (IPOAs). A summary of the status and implementation of the IPOA-IUU in the Mediterranean was provided. It was noted that many regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) have been active in implementing this IPOA-IUU and their decisions, actions and measures were described.
53. The Commission expressed its satisfaction for the documentation prepared by the Secretariat on the issue of IUU fishing. Members informed the Commission on the recent efforts made in their respective countries to strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance schemes and to incorporate relevant provisions of the IPOA-IUU in their legislation. The Commission acknowledged efforts being made at national level and the wish expressed by Members that the implementation of the IPOA-IUU be addressed at regional level as well, through GFCM.
54. Several delegations emphasized the importance of building robust systems at national levels including formulating national plans of action to tackle the various dimensions of combating IUU fishing and thereby reinforcing any action taken at regional level. The Commission endorsed the proposal of the Secretariat to adopt a step by step approach whereby the various dimensions of the issue could be tackled in a holistic manner. In this respect, some delegations stressed that the establishment of "white and black" lists of vessels could be an initial undertaking.
55. The Commission agreed that a workshop of experts from GFCM countries should be organized back-to-back to the Technical Consultations on Capacity, IUU and Subsidies which is tentatively scheduled to take place in Rome, in June 2004.
56. The EC informed the Plenary that the Council of the European Union approved in May 2002 a Community Action Plan for the elimination of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and that some concrete actions have been already undertaken.
57. The Observer from WWF presented a Joint Statement by WWF and Greenpeace addressing the problem of current driftnet-related IUU fishing practices in the Mediterranean.