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APPENDIX D: Opening statement by Ichiro Nomura, Assistant-Director General, FAO Fisheries Department

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen:

We all know that IUU fishing has been propelled to international prominence because it undermines sustainable fisheries management, reduces the social and economic contribution of fisheries to food security and livilihoods and can have dramatic impacts on the stocks and their associated ecosystems. To a greater or lesser degree, IUU fishing is found in all capture fisheries, irrespective of their location, species targeted, fishing gear employed or intensity of exploitation.

On 9 December 2003, the FAO Conference adopted a Resolution concerning progress with the implementation of the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU). The Resolution noted the continuing high and growing incidence of IUU fishing and related activities as well as the lack of political will, commitment and capacity by some Governments to deal effectively with such fishing or to meet their obligations under international law. The Resolution urged States and regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), to take direct and indirect action against IUU fishing on all fronts, as envisaged by the IPOA-IUU.

This Technical Consultation will have to review and address these actions. In so doing it can take advantage of the information that is presented in documents TC IUU-CAP/2004/2 and 3 and information papers TC IUU-CAP/2004/Inf.3 and Inf.4. and was collected through self-assessment questionnaires. Of a total of 82 Members (or 42 percent of the FAO Membership) which responded, 64 did so before the twice extended cut off dates and the information contained in their responses is reflected fully in the analysis. A further nine Members submitted their questionnaires after the final cut off date and their responses are contained in the analysis of document TC IUU-CAP/2004/Inf.3. An additional nine responses were received after the papers were finalized, translated or were in the final stages of translation.

15 responses have been sent by regional fishery management organizations and regional fishery bodies. Overall, this gives us a reasonably comprehensive picture at the national, regional and global levels.

This is also a good opportunity for those Members which have not responded or whose response could not be incorporated into the analysis, to present their own information and for having it recorded as appropriate in the report of the Session, in addition of enriching our debate.
Ladies and gentlemen:

The many dimensions of IUU fishing and its dynamic nature leave no room for complacency. Our commitment to obliterate one of the main obstacles facing the achievement of responsible and sustainable fisheries means that deeper and broader efforts are needed to ensure that the IPOA-IUU is implemented fully and effectively in order.

From the information it has received, FAO is aware that Members are highly conscious of the need to implement proactively the IPOA-IUU and have adopted measures to combat IUU fishing. Highly encouraging are the reports by many Members that they have started to enact new laws specifically addressing IUU fishing. In addition, 25 percent of respondents advised that they had started to formulate national plans of action to combat IUU fishing (NPOAs-IUU). However, control over nationals, flag State controls and market related mechanisms to fight IUU fishing emerged as the weakest areas in the implementation of the IPOA-IUU, while coastal State duties are being implemented to an intermediate extent.

Furthermore, it must be noted that a number of NGOs have also undertaken valuable initiatives to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing, especially among more vulnerable fishing communities and groups of fishworkers

Fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) is a key element of fisheries management. Many Members advised that their MCS programmes are being strengthened and new technologies such as vessel monitoring systems (VMS) are being considered or implemented. Some Members also noted the need for effective MCS cost-recovery and self-financing mechanisms. Such an approach to the funding of MCS programmes would assist countries achieve a higher degree of compliance with national fishery policy and laws while, at the same time, facilitating the implement the IPOA-IUU.

With respect to port State measures, although Members have generally established fairly comprehensive controls, a weak link is the lack of a strategy for cooperation in the implementation of regionally agreed port State measures. FAO has commenced work on promoting such a strategy and will, with the concurrence of the Committee on Fisheries, move forward on this work.

The IPOA-IUU itself stresses the importance of international cooperation in its implementation, especially at the regional level. Harmonization of legal frameworks and MCS systems, development of joint access rules and building of networks that will become more impenetrable to IUU fishers, underpin such cooperative arrangements. Indeed, a failure to heed the importance of regional cooperation in our efforts to combat IUU fishing could well spell doom for well-conceived nationally implemented measures if they are developed in isolation and without the support and cooperation of neighbouring countries.

As some Members have reported, the lack of financial and human resources inhibits the development of NPOAs-IUU and other forms of cooperation. Countries have called for national and regional training programmes related to IUU fishing as means of enhancing human and institutional capacity.

RFMOs have reported that to some extent they have been implementing the various tools identified in the IPOA-IUU. On a highly positive note, five RFMOs advised that their measures to combat IUU fishing had already taken root and that they were deterring such fishing. RFMOs also reported that they are continuing to adopt a broader range of measures to implement the IPOA-IUU.

Most RFMOs have identified as main causes of IUU fishing the lack of effective flag State control by both members and non-members, the operation of open registries and the quest for profit from unauthorised fishers. Although some advances had been made regarding Flag State control, improved measures are still needed.

A burning issue for most RFMOs and a major challenge in combating IUU fishing is the need for effective MCS programmes. Encouragingly, trade and marketing measures, a major issue for those RFMOs that have already adopted such measures, were described as both effective and having a positive impact on reducing IUU fishing. One of the most significant and continuing challenges that RFMOs are facing is estimating the extent and impacts of IUU fishing in their convention areas.

Taking a global view of IUU fishing issues before the Consultation, it can be concluded that headway is being made nationally and regionally to implement the IPOA-IUU, in spite of the fact that the pace is slower than the international community would like to see. Spirited commitment and concerted action is needed to overcome the constraints and to optimize the results of efforts undertaken at the national, regional and global level, in order to give life to the IPOA-IUU. This is the only path to ensure that the social and economic interests of fishing communities, law-abiding fishers and generations not yet born are not jeopardized.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for you attention.

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