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General Observations

86. The Code of Conduct was fundamental to the proper management of the fisheries resources of the Pacific Islands. The Code established detailed guidelines and provided a comprehensive framework for fisheries management and utilization. If given full effect by Pacific Island countries, it would strengthen and augment efforts by the international community to ensure that fisheries resources were managed sustainably.

87. The Code and its IPOAs provided a benchmark against which Pacific Island countries might measure the way in which they managed and conserved their fisheries resources. The Code was perceived as an integral part of international efforts underpinned by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement to conserve and manage fish stocks sustainably. The Code supplemented both the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement by prescribing, in detail, measures that States should adopt not only to manage and conserve fish stocks, but also to protect and preserve the habitat in which the fish stocks occured.

88. Awareness about the Code was important for its implementation. Also of fundamental importance was an understanding of the various principles and provisions of the Code that were necessary for its effective implementation. Fisheries and other policy office holders should have an understanding of the Code. Understanding the Code was a basic requirement for its successful implementation. Therefore, greater awareness, information, dissemination and training about the Code should be encouraged.

89. Generally, there was an understanding and appreciation of the Code in the Pacific Islands and its various international instruments that impinged on the management and conservation of fisheries in the region. Indirectly and unconsciously, Pacific Islanders had been implementing various aspects of the Code in their fisheries policies and legislation. The indirect and unconscious implementation of the Code was borne out by the need to achieve good and sound governance in the fisheries sector. Pacific Island countries understood the need to ensure that their fisheries resources were not overexploited and while the policies and management and development plans they had put in place may not have been fully aligned with the letter of the Code, they were implementing the Code by implication. The reviews of legislation undertaken in the region also took into account international developments, particularly the Code, especially in setting the long-term sustainability goals as reflected in legislation.

90. It was obvious that while the Code provided a comprehensive framework for the management and utilization of fisheries resources, no guideline was available for small-scale fisheries management. This was an important issue for Pacific Island countries. Most Pacific Islanders in one way or another were involved in small-scale fishing either as harvesters or dependent on them as a source of food supply. The sustainable management of this fishery was therefore of fundamental importance to the region. This was because the impact of overexploitation of near-shore fisheries resources would impinge on food security and subsistence.

91. Aquaculture was an important fishery that was rapidly developing in the Pacific Islands. While the Code provided a very good basis for the development and management of aquaculture, there was a paucity of legal skills in the Pacific Islands to develop legislation to properly manage and control aquaculture. There was a need to develop the legal expertise required to draft legislation for aquaculture. In this regard, there was potential for FAO and other regional fishery bodies to collaborate in assisting Pacific Island countries develop aquaculture legislation.

92. Post-harvest practices and trade in fisheries were increasingly becoming more important to Pacific Island countries as they sought to expand their fish and fishery products in international markets. In this connection, these countries faced difficulties with respect to implementing the post-harvest practices and trade aspects of the Code. This was because countries lacked the legal expertise to develop the necessary legal frameworks required to meet EU and US market demands. This contrasted with the availability of technical resources to undertake necessary inspections of fish processing facilities and to examine the quality of fish and fishery products. Given the lack of legal skills to develop appropriate legislation, FAO and other regional fishery bodies were encourage to collaborate in assisting Pacific Island countries develop legislation on post-harvest practices and trade.

93. ICM was particularly important for Pacific Island countries. There was a need for decentralized management and a recognition of the role that communities and NGOs could play in assisting governments implement the ICM component of the Code. A participatory approach to decision-making with respect to ICM should be promoted and involve all relevant stakeholders. While it was recognized that a participatory approach was necessary, important decisions were being made without recourse to full consultation with stakeholders. This was often a function of the sectoral approach to management. FAO and other relevant organizations could consider collaborating in promoting training for Pacific Islanders to facilitate broader participation in decision-making process.

Proposed National Regional and Global Follow-up Actions

94. The Workshop endorsed the following national and regional actions for follow-up and proposed that FAO and other international agencies, as appropriate, consider activities to further support the implementation of the Code in the Pacific Islands.

95. National action to strengthen the implementation the Code and its IPOAs:

96. Regional action to further support the implementation of the Code and the IPOAs:

97. FAO and other international action to support the implementation of the Code and the IPOAs.

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