7. Dr Doulman made a presentation concerning the "Implementation of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Pacific Islands: An Analysis of 2002 Responses". The presentation summarized self-assessment responses provided to FAO by Pacific Island countries. The responses enabled FAO to assess the extent to which Members in the region had taken steps to implement the Code, and, as a consequence, to put in place measures that promoted sustainable and responsible practices in the fisheries sector. Based on an analysis of the information provided by Pacific Island Members, FAO had assessed that good progress was being achieved in the implementation of the Code. A copy of the paper on which the presentation was based is attached as Appendix E.
8. The Workshop was encouraged by the high level of responses to the questionnaire from countries in the region in 2002 and the results that were obtained concerning the implementation of the Code of Conduct. Some participants highlighted in-country problems faced with the receipt, circulation and completion of the questionnaire. It was noted that sometimes the FAO questionnaire was not completed by the competent officers but by officers who had limited understanding of the Code or of national fisheries laws. A further complication was that more than one Ministry/Department was sometimes involved in the completion of the questionnaire.
9. Some participants indicated that difficulty had been encountered in responding to the 2002 FAO questionnaire because of the degree of interpretation involved with some of the questions (e.g. some participants were not familiar with the terminology "limit reference point" and had interpreted this to mean "TACs", etc.). It was pointed out that such interpretation could lead to bias in responses.
10. The role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in responding to the FAO questionnaire and in promoting the implementation of the Code of Conduct was raised. It was pointed out that NGOs played an important role in the dissemination of the Code, awareness building about the Code and implementation of the Code, especially in small-scale fisheries. The Workshop was advised that NGOs were invited to respond to the questionnaire and that the quality of their responses was excellent.
11. The Workshop identified a number of issues and challenges related to the implementation of the Code. These were:
how to ensure fishing and fisheries management were undertaken in a responsible manner?
the reality that many fishery officers in national administrations did not have a good understanding of national fisheries laws and international fisheries instruments such as the Code of Conduct, and
the need to implement fisheries policies that reflected the principles of the Code of Conduct.
12. The Workshop agreed that an important means of addressing some of the national shortcomings with respect to the completion of the FAO questionnaire and the implementation of the Code would be to establish a network of national focal points and to put in place other arrangements for the dissemination of information about the Code.
13. A further presentation was made by Dr Doulman entitled "1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries: Underpinning Concepts, Goals and Principles". The presentation discussed basic concepts of long-term sustainability and responsibility that underpinned the post-United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) international fishery instruments, including the Code of Conduct. Significantly, the Code noted that the right to fish carried with it certain obligations to act responsibility; it was no longer morally acceptable to act in a way that denigrated resources in the pursuit of personal gain. The Objectives and General Principles of the Code were also reviewed. This presentation of an introductory nature provided the backdrop for the subsequent presentations concerning the substantive or thematic articles of the Code. A copy of the paper on which the presentation was based is attached as Appendix F.
14. In discussion, the Workshop recognized that the Code of Conduct was a voluntary instrument but that it nonetheless contained useful principles and guidelines that encouraged responsible behaviour in the fisheries sector. It was noted that there was no legal obligation to implement the Code but that there was persuasive moral weight that encouraged implementation. It was stressed that countries were often taking steps towards the implementation of the Code even though this implementation may not be explicitly recognized as such (e.g. when countries developed and implemented fishery management plans for in-shore and off-shore resources).