Formation of the Working Groups
74. Five Working Groups were formed to enhance the participatory nature of the Workshop and as a means of generating broader and deeper discussion on the thematic articles of the Code. The Working Groups were also seen as an important vehicle for generating input from experienced fisheries personnel participating in the Workshop. The Working Groups formed were:
75. The composition of each of the Working Groups is attached as Appendix O. Discussion Guides to facilitate the deliberations of the Working Groups were prepared by the resource persons assigned to each Group. The Discussion Guides are attached as Appendix P.
Reports of the Working Groups
Working Group 1 - Fisheries Management
76. The conclusions of the Working Group were as follows:
The Code of Conduct was a common sense logical guide for responsible fisheries that had the potential to promote sustainable fisheries management, food security and the social and economic well-being of Pacific Islanders.
There appeared to be a general lack of awareness about the Code at the national level in the Pacific Islands even though at the regional level Pacific Island countries had participated in the development of regional and international fisheries law including the Code of Conduct.
Fisheries management arrangements were well developed at the regional level but were not so advanced at the national level. Pacific Island countries had given due recognition to responsible fisheries management principles at the regional level but needed to ensure that national measures for responsible fisheries were compatible.
Enhanced consultation on fisheries management and related issues among regional organizations in the Pacific Islands would benefit their members at national levels through coordinated and focused activities.
The implementation of responsible fisheries management at the national level varied from country to country in the Pacific Islands and was often hampered by limited resources and capacity. More work needed to be done at the national level to implement responsible fisheries management measures.
Consultation among stakeholders was an essential element in developing and implementing fisheries management policy, legislation and plans. The promotion of wider stakeholder involvement was fundamental for responsible fisheries management so that all impacts were taken into account.
Fisheries management in island countries by nature was interdisciplinary. There were, and will continue to be, overlapping responsibilities. Effective fisheries management would require authorities to coordinate and have a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
It was recognized that data and information requirements were a vital prerequisite for responsible fisheries management. However, Pacific Island countries in general were poor collectors and providers of this information, particularly with respect to oceanic fisheries.
77. The recommendations of the Working Group were as follows:
Where appropriate a review and assessment of national fisheries policies, laws and plans should be undertaken to determine the extent to which there was compliance with the Code and related international instruments.
Depending on the outcomes of national assessments, it might be considered necessary to conduct national workshops for responsible fisheries and promote the implementation of principles and concepts of the Code. Assistance for such initiatives could be sourced from relevant regional organizations and possibly FAO. The purpose of such initiatives would be to create a greater awareness about the Code and build capacity to implement the full suite of principles contained in the Code.
The establishment of focal points for the Code at national and regional levels should facilitate implementation of the Code in the Pacific Islands.
Regional organizations and institutes should integrate work programmes to better advise Pacific Island countries on fisheries management measures.
Educational institutions should incorporate awareness building programmes in their courses to promote the concept of responsible fisheries management as set out in the Code and related technical guidelines.
In the absence of adequate data and information, adherence to the precautionary approach to fisheries management was imperative.
As responsible fisheries managers, Pacific Island national administrations should meet their commitments to comply with World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and IPOA deadlines. These deadlines were:
- Development and Implementation of National and Regional Plans of Action to put into effect the IPOA-IUU Fishing by 2004;
- Development and Implementation of National and Regional Plans of Action to put into effect the IPOA-Capacity by 2005;
- Application of ecosystem approach to fisheries by 2010;
- Restoration of depleted fish stocks by 2015, and
- Establishment of "representative networks" of marine protected areas by 2012.
Working Group 2 - Fishing Operations
78. The conclusions of the Working Group were as follows:
Safety at sea required training at regulatory and voluntary levels.
In many Pacific Island countries, there was no legislation to ensure the seaworthiness of fishing vessels.
The discard rate in the region was relatively small compared to other regions of the world.
There was a large problem with harbour pollution in the Pacific Islands.
The fishing industry could contribute towards MCS costs by various means.
Vessel monitoring systems (VMS) could be used for other purposes, including the improvement of fisheries management.
The issue of fish aggregating devices (FADs) was complicated with several advantages and disadvantages.
Measures were being taken by some Pacific Island countries to implement port State and coastal State measures for fishing vessels.
The contribution that fishers and fishing communities could make to practical fisheries management was substantial.
79. The recommendations of the Working Group were as follows:
Training in safety at sea should be carried out at school and professional fisheries levels.
Insurance schemes should be encouraged where none currently exist.
Where there was no legislation for safety of small fishing vessels, consideration should be given to including this legislation under the Fisheries Act.
The collection of statistics and the analysis of discards should be encouraged and improved. Such discards should be verified by observers.
Harbour committees should be established if necessary with a range of relevant agencies represented.
Efforts should be made to ensure that industry compliance was more effective rather than relying only on enforcement.
More studies were needed on the efforts of FADs and the controlled use of FADs should be introduced under vessel licensing arrangements.
Port States should communicate deficiencies of foreign vessels to flag States.
Fishers and fishing communities should be recognized, and have participation in, fishery management organizations.
Working Group 3 - Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries Development
80. The conclusions of the Working Group were as follows:
In many Pacific Island countries, there was inadequate aquaculture policy and legislation. This matter needed to be addressed through the formulation of appropriate policy and enabling legislation.
There was a lack of relevant information about aquaculture in the region particularly among countries with fledging industries.
Many countries faced potential trade restrictions for exports. These potential restrictions resulted from the need to meet specified health standards and accreditation schemes.
Because of customary tenure, systems of clanship, etc., a major challenge in the Pacific Islands was the establishment of a system of rights-based aquaculture for individuals that would enable financial institutions to provide credit, enable ownership and/or exclusivity over farming space, provide some permanence for investment and be conducive to foreign investment.
Genetically modified organisms and feeds were a concern in the Pacific Islands. Hatchery technology could mass produce organisms with modified genetic traits that could affect the diversity of the natural gene pool.
Introductions of a new species could reduce biodiversity by causing native species to become extinct. Some species could be introduced unintentionally and not all introductions were aquaculture related (e.g. species could be transported on ships' hulls).
Environmental impacts from aquaculture were often of concern because of the use of antibiotics, destruction of mangroves and the discharge of effluent.
The aquaculture industry in the Pacific Islands was generally free of diseases and insidious virus.
The injection of cash and the requirement for space for aquaculture development in communities, especially in rural villages, could lead to social problems and affect traditional livelihoods.
81. The recommendations of the Working Group were as follows:
Countries should develop aquaculture specific policy and legislation. In this regard, governance should enable the full participation of national and local governments and it should incorporate traditional systems. In addition, countries should consider how all stakeholders and interest groups could participate in the advisory and statutory process (e.g. Fiji Locally Marine Management Associations (FLMMA)). National fisheries administrations should be the logical focal points for aquaculture.
Where possible the collection of aquaculture information should be undertaken and ensure that statistics were accurate and timely and that fisheries and aquaculture statistics were disaggregated to gauge the level of development. The information should be relevant to the needs of stakeholders and case studies from the Pacific Island region should be utilized whenever possible.
Countries were urged to put in place proper regulatory measures to meet the importing standards of overseas countries. To do this, countries should consult with relevant public health authorities and/or environmental agencies. To introduce minimum standards, countries could be required to amend their legislation.
Governments should allocate a high priority to establish rights-based aquaculture. Solutions for the aquaculture sector may be found within existing systems of land tenure and classification that were already well developed in the agriculture sector.
When national authorities were required to make a decision concerning genetic material in which there was a lack of scientific information, the precautionary approach should be adopted.
Authorities should undertake proper risk assessment and implement quarantine procedures when a new species was to be introduced. There should be a clear policy on why a species was being introduced and the introduction of new species required coordination among authorities responsible for functions such as quarantine and environmental protection.
Aquaculture systems may have a minimum impact on its surrounding environment by utilising environmentally friendly technology such as zero discharge treatment and the rehabilitation of mangroves and their use as discharge retaining systems.
Pacific Island countries should exploit its disease free status and "clean-green" image for marketing purposes.
When planning aquaculture development in rural areas, governments should be aware of the social problems which might arise and ensure systems for conflict resolution were in place.
Working Group 4 - Post Harvest Practices and Trade
82. The conclusions of the Working Group were as follows:
Legal frameworks relating to fish trade were non-existent or inadequate in some Pacific Island countries.
There was an insufficient knowledge of the role and responsibilities of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the Pacific Island region. This was extremely critical for the fish exporting industry.
Consumers' right and protection as envisaged in sub-articles 11.1.1 and 11.1.2 relating to product safety, wholesomeness and ensuring that product was not unadulterated, were critical.
83. The recommendations of the Working Group were as follows:
Pacific Island countries should develop appropriate legal frameworks to cater for post-harvest activities relating to fish and fishery products taking into account the establishment and operation of fish processing plants, traceability of fish and fishery products, the provisions of sub-articles 11.3.1 and 11.3.2, the suitability of the system (HACCP, auditing, inspection, certification, etc), the setting-up of a competent authority to oversee the legal framework and the environmental issues raised in sub-article 11.1.7.
To request FAO to mount a series of awareness raising Workshops with regard to WTO matters and dissemination of information relating to standards for fish and fishery products and on the issues raised in sub-article 11.2.5.
To include in the legal framework for fish and fishery products the rights and protection of consumers through appropriate measures to ensure quality of product (sub-articles 11.1.1 and 11.1.2).
To promote attachment programmes to countries that had an appropriate legislative framework in place.
To incorporate into government corporate and strategic plans post-harvest issues as a matter of priority (sub-article 11.1.5).
To encourage relevant institutions to carry out applied and adaptive research into fish (reef and aquaculture) as food, including the prevention of adverse health effects (toxins).
To promote research into product development and value added products (sub-articles 11.1.6, 12.7 and 11.1.10).
To promote training and awareness building programmes on how to minimize post-harvest losses (sub-article 11.1.8).
To monitor the impact of trade on national food security (sub-articles 11.2.15 and 11.1.9).
Working Group 5 - Integration of Fisheries into Coastal Area Management
84. The conclusions of the Working Group were as follows:
That the stakeholders involved in ICM included government departments (fisheries departments, planning, environment, lands, maritime and ports, agriculture and forestry, tourism, health, treasury, attorney-general), fishing industry associations, traditional users, traditional and other landowners (private and customary), traditional chiefs, women's groups, manufacturers, infrastructure, farmers' associations, recreational users groups, academic/scientific institutions and NGOs.
That some type of committee (or committees) was/were needed to consult with the wide spectrum of stakeholders to integrate ICM planning needs.
The most effective committees at present in the Pacific Island region appeared to be those operating closest to the local level (e.g. FLMMAs).
Alternatives for committee chairing were considered. These alternatives included the possibility that the chair of the committee could be under the president's department, the chair could be appointed by cabinet with departments being bound by the committee's decisions, the chair and committee support (secretariat function) could rotate on an annual basis between key stakeholder groups (e.g. key departments) and that the relevant highest chief of the area could also serve as chair.
An overall policy framework to give the committee(s) a mandate and specified functions should be developed and implemented.
Prior to establishing a new committee, consideration of existing mechanisms should be undertaken.
New methods could be addressed for increasing awareness and participation (e.g. approaches such as those used by the RARE organization, Wan Smol Bag theatre group, and radio which was very effective in rural areas, face to face meetings and other media, open days, and working with key "movers" in a community).
Existing mechanisms and studies for information (e.g. National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan and the International Waters Programme) were recognized as being important for ICM.
Research should be undertaken to fill information gaps.
Sub-regional groupings should be encouraged as a means of promoting the sharing of information.
85. The recommendations of the Working Group were as follows:
to consider how to consult effectively with traditional users of marine resources;
to establish group(s) that would allow for the integration of coastal stakeholders' interests in a culturally appropriate way;
to review existing mechanisms in each country prior to establishing new committee(s);
to structure committee(s) so that they could address the issue of equality of participation of key stakeholders;
to have a high-level person chairing the committee relative to its members. The chair should come from a senior post in a key department or be the chief of an area for a lower level (non-national) committee;
to develop an overall policy framework to give the committee(s) a clear mandate and specified functions;
to task the committee, inter alia, to review policy and legislation and to consider its adequacy in terms of cross-sectoral interests, oversee the development of an ICM plan for an area or island, monitor the plan's implementation over time, and address key issues that could arise that were not adequately considered within the plan and identify priorities for research;
to create awareness using means that either directly involved the affected people or were primary methods of communication for them (e.g. radio);
to assess information already available relevant to the monitoring needs of the country or area before deciding that new studies were required;
to establish Coastal Management Learning Networks across and within countries;
to include ICM in national oceans policy development and include ICM in national inputs at the Regional Oceans Forum 2004, and
to share information among countries to the extent that this was practicable.