96. The Secretariat introduced documents COFI/2005/7 and Inf.15. It outlined the process that had led to the 2004 FAO Technical Consultation on Sea Turtles Conservation and Fisheries, thanking the Governments of Japan and the United States of America for their generous support.
97. The Secretariat presented briefly the results of the Technical Consultation, following the themes and priorities indicated by the twenty-fifth session of COFI. The Committee was invited to express its opinion with respect to the recommendations of the Technical Consultation and to provide guidance for the direction and scope of future work.
98. The Committee endorsed the report and the recommendations of the Technical Consultation. It called for the immediate implementation by Members and RFMOs of the Guidelines to Reduce Sea Turtle Mortality in Fishing Operations as contained in Appendix E of COFI/2005/Inf.15. The Committee acknowledged that these guidelines were voluntary and they were not intended to affect trade. Members and RFMOs were invited to report to FAO six months prior to the Twenty-seventh Session of COFI concerning their experiences in implementing the guidelines so as to permit an evaluation of their usefulness and relevance. It also agreed that FAO should proceed with the development of Technical Guidelines under the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as agreed by the Technical Consultation. One Member explained the need for the development of an international plan of action (IPOA) for sea turtle mortality in fisheries.
99. The Committee recognized the need for further biological studies including sea turtle tagging. It stressed the need to share information and experiences in implementing mitigation measures. Several Members reported on existing efforts and activities for sea turtle conservation, including the need to consider their protection along migratory routes. These activities included national conservation programmes, gear modification such as the introduction of "circle hook" in a shallow set longlines, the implementation of relevant legislation and participation in international agreements. The Committee emphasized the need for technical and financial assistance to address sea turtle mortality due to fisheries and to implement the recommendations of the Technical Consultation.