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65. The Consultation noted that there was a clear linkage between IUU fishing and fishing overcapacity. Overfishing resulted directly from overcapacity which in turn led to IUU fishing. For this reason, more appropriate fisheries management and capacity controls were necessary to prevent IUU fishing. Nonetheless, the Consultation recognized that overcapacity was not the only cause of IUU fishing. Other considerations were also fundamentally important and the Consultation noted that many of these issues were global in nature and required global solutions.

66. The Consultation reiterated that the full and effective implementation of the IPOA-IUU and the IPOA-capacity required a firm political commitment by governments. This commitment was essential for the management of national fisheries and internationally through the regional management of fisheries. In RFMOs, members must have the political will to implement the decisions agreed and adopted if sustainability was to be achieved.

67. The Consultation expressed its concern about the transfer of fishing capacity noting that globally-agreed measures should be adopted in relation to such transfers. Some delegations proposed, for example, that when a State decommissioned vessels and permitted them to be exported, the State of origin should ensure that certain conditions were met. The exporting State should ensure that the recipient State had committed itself to certain international obligations such as ratification of the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement and acceptance of the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement. In the event that a receiving State had not assumed these obligations, the exporting State should prohibit the transfer of vessels. They further noted that some RFMOs had developed lists of flag States that failed to meet their international obligations. The exporting State should also verify that the recipient State was not included on one of these lists.

68. With respect to the transfer of vessels, the Consultation agreed that measures adopted should be sufficiently flexible to ensure that the legitimate expansion of fleets in developing countries was not prejudiced. In this regard, the Consultation underscored the fact that developing countries have the right to develop fleets in a sustainable manner. It was pointed out by some delegations that countries should not be penalized for overcapacity problems to which they had not contributed.

69. The Consultation recalled that all fishing vessels irrespective of where they fished should be properly authorized. It was agreed that port States should refuse access to vessels for the transshipment of catches if the vessels have not been licensed to fish by a competent authority. The Consultation urged COFI to consider and adopt principles and guidelines for the establishment of Regional Memoranda of Understanding on port State measures.

70. Some States noted that a way of promoting cooperation in fisheries management and development would be for States to enter into bilateral or regional partnership arrangements to promote sustainable fisheries. Such arrangements could be mutually beneficial in promoting a sustainable industry in developing countries while accommodating surplus vessels from flag States or historical arrangements.

71. The Consultation took note that RFMOs were required to coordinate regional action to reduce overcapacity and to combat IUU fishing. Some delegations pointed out that, in the absence of RFMOs, they were not in a position to develop and coordinate action when confronted with problems of common concern. The Consultation agreed that IUU fishers were exploiting weaknesses in regional governance and that RFMOs, acting individually and as a group, were required to determine how these gaps could be minimized or eliminated.

Main recommendations

72. The Consultation recommended that RFMOs undertake evaluations of the steps being taken to implement the IPOA-IUU and the IPOA-capacity, through appropriate mechanisms, including where relevant third party reviews.

Actions directed to FAO

73. The Consultation noted that there was a proliferation of work relating to IUU fishing and it encouraged FAO to develop a central repository for information relating to IUU fishing.

74. Recognizing the capacity and financial constraints in many developing countries, the Consultation reaffirmed the need to support developing countries and urged FAO to give high priority to assisting their implementation of the IPOA-IUU and IPOA-capacity. The Consultation suggested that FAO should elaborate a framework for that purpose.

75. The Consultation proposed that FAO facilitate interaction among stakeholders to ensure that the IPOA-IUU and IPOA-capacity are implemented fully and effectively and in a holistic manner.

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