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68. The item was introduced by the Chairperson of the Second Session of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture and the Secretariat and was discussed on the basis of documents COFI/2005/4 and Inf.14. The Committee endorsed the report of the Sub-Committee and thanked the Government of Norway for hosting and supporting the Session. The Committee further appreciated the excellent work of the Sub-Committee and the Secretariat.

69. The Committee recognized the importance of aquaculture including culture-based fisheries as a means of increasing fish production, of generating income and as a means of reducing pressure on wild fish resources. Many Members placed high priority on the sustainable development of aquaculture and reaffirmed their trust in FAO to play its coordinating role in advancing the global aquaculture agenda.

70. The Committee thanked the Government of Japan for establishing a trust fund to provide assistance for the sustainable development of aquaculture.

71. Many Members supported the establishment of regional network organizations similar to the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) but noted that these networks had to take account of local circumstances. The Committee noted the offer of Mexico to host a NACA-type organization for the Americas.

72. Many Members noted that increased funding was required for the Sub-Committee to undertake its ambitious programme. It was suggested that a separate budget line should be created within FAO for financing the work of the Sub-Committee. Many Members suggested that the FAO Regular Programme allocate additional funds to the Fisheries Department which in turn could allocate more funds to aquaculture. Several Members, including the European Community, Japan and Norway offered to provide additional financial assistance to implement activities for responsible aquaculture.

73. Several Members proposed prioritizing activities to give emphasis to the development of good management practices, appropriate technical standards and guidelines and technical assistance to Members, particularly for ensuring food safety and environmental sustainability in aquaculture. The Committee stressed the importance of working with the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade on issues pertaining to food safety and quality, markets and better reporting on status and trends.

74. The Committee noted the importance of aquaculture development in Africa including its integration into irrigation systems and several Members pointed out the need for technical and financial assistance. Several Members stressed the need to convene a conference for the promotion of aquaculture in sub-Saharan Africa as well as the establishment of a centre for aquaculture in that region.

75. The Committee thanked India for offering to host the Third Session of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture in 2006 despite the difficulties they were facing following the recent tsunami disaster.

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