1. The Expert Consultation on Fishing Vessels Operating under Open Registries and their Impact on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing was held at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Miami, from 23 to 25 September 2003. It was attended by 18 Experts who participated in the Consultation in their personal capacities. A list of the Experts is attached as Appendix B. Mr Jean-Francois Pulvenis de Séligny, Director, Fishery Policy and Planning Division, Fisheries Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy, opened the Consultation.
2. Mr Pulvenis de Séligny welcomed the Experts to the Consultation on behalf of Mr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO and Mr Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries Department, FAO, Rome. In his opening remarks, he noted the international concern about illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and the lack of flag State control over fishing vessels being exercised by some States including some that operate open registries. He stated that FAO had a process underway to combat IUU fishing and bolster the implementation of the FAO International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU) that had been agreed in 2001. Mr Pulvenis de Séligny advised the Consultation that, in this respect and as a consequence of a decision of the Twenty-fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in February 2003, a Technical Consultation on IUU fishing, fleet capacity and subsidies would be held in June 2004. The results of this Expert Consulation would provide an important input for that Technical Consultation. He also noted that Experts for this Consultation had been selected because of their experience and background with open registries as well as their experience in the field of fisheries. He stressed that Experts were participating in the Consultation in their personal capacity and not as representatives of their countries or governments. He thanked NMFS and the Director of the Southeast Fisheries Science Center and her staff for having supported the Consultation by accepting to provide the facilities to host it.
3. Dr Nancy B. Thompson, Director, Southeast Fisheries Science Center welcomed, on behalf of NOAA, the participants to the meeting. She explained the role of the Center, noting in particular its interaction with countries of the Caribbean and its work in support of International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT).