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This document contains the report of the Expert Consultation on Fishing Vessels Operating under Open Registries and their Impact on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing that was held at at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Miami, Florida, United States of America, from 23-25 September 2003. The Expert Consultation was convened by the Director-General of FAO with a view to facilitating the implementation of the 2001 FAO International Plan of Action to Deter, Prevent and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU). Experts for this Consultation were selected because of their experience with open registries and in the field of fisheries.

The Experts focused on the effects of IUU fishing on global fishery resources and on lessons that might be learned from the experiences of flag States that have already implemented tighter control over the activities of their fishing vessels. Background papers and three case studies from selected open registry countries were presented. A round table discussion following the presentations led to the adoption of a number of recommendations for more effective application of flag State control over fishing vessels, particularly those operating under open registries, as a means to reduce the incidence of IUU fishing. These recommendations identified measures to be adopted by all States, flag States, coastal States and port States, as well as for assistance to developing States.

Results of the Expert Consultation are intended to provide inputs for a Technical Consultation on IUU fishing, fleet capacity and subsidies that is planned for June 2004, in accordance with a decision of the twenty-fifth session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in February 2003.

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