1. On the recommendation of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) at its Twenty-fifth Session, the Director-General of FAO, Mr Jacques Diouf, convened the Technical Consultation to Review Progress and Promote the Full Implementation of the International Plan of Action (IPOA) to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and the IPOA on the Management of Fishing Capacity. The Technical Consultation was held at FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy, from 24 to 29 June 2004.
2. The Consultation was attended by 84 Members and observers, one non-Member nation of FAO, by representatives from two specialized agencies of the United Nations, and by observers from 27 intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations. The list of delegates and observers is given in Appendix B. The documents that were placed before the Consultation are listed in Appendix C.
3. The meeting was called to order by the Secretary of the Consultation, Mr Benedict P. Satia.
4. Mr Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General, FAO Fisheries Department, in his opening statement on behalf of the Director-General, reminded delegates that the Technical Consultation was in direct response to a request from the Twenty-fifth Session of COFI. At that Session, the Committee agreed that strenuous effort should be made to control fleet capacity, particularly that of large-scale fishing vessels, and, as appropriate, implement measures to reduce over-capacity and prevent it from migrating to other fully exploited or over-exploited fisheries. Similarly, at the same Session, the Committee expressed concern about the continuing high and growing incidence of IUU fishing and the lack of effective implementation of the 2001 International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU) and recommended that FAO should convene a technical consultation to review progress and promote the full implementation of the 1999 FAO International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity and the IPOA-IUU. Mr Nomura reported that both the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement, which have a strong bearing on IUU fishing and the management of fishing capacity, had come into force. He strongly encouraged countries that have not yet ratified these instruments to do so as soon as possible. He furthermore expressed the wish that the Consultation would undertake a thorough review of progress and promote further the implementation of the IPOA-IUU and IPOA-capacity. He concluded that this was important so that world fisheries would be managed more responsibly to ensure that fisheries could be available for the generations to come and that, above all, fisheries would continue to make an important contribution to food security, employment and poverty alleviation. The full text of the opening statement is attached as Appendix D.