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111. Many Members agreed on the importance of establishing principles to review the performance of RFMOs in meeting their objectives and the obligations and principles set forth in relevant international instruments. However, many Members expressed caution and suggested that the question of how to undertake such a review and the concept of independence required further discussion, noting RFMOs’ current assessment activities. Many Members agreed that the process could be shaped by consultations among RFMOs, the result of which could be fed back to COFI for further actions.

112. Many Members welcomed the proposal extended by the Chairperson of the Fourth Meeting of Regional Fishery Bodies (Rome, 14-15 March 2005) that the meeting be given the opportunity to reflect on the matter of assessing the performance of these bodies. The Committee agreed that it could extend an invitation to RFMO members and other interested parties encouraging them to participate in the development of parameters for any such review process, possibly through an urgent expert consultation followed by a technical consultation. Some Members stated that any review of RFMO performance should be in the form of an independent review, even in cases where RFMOs were considering internal assessments.

113. Many Members proposed that an agenda item on Ecosystem Approach be included in the next session of COFI. Many Members reconfirmed their strong support for paragraph 39 of the report of the Twenty-fourth Session of COFI, which requested FAO to conduct research on the interaction between marine mammals and fisheries and desired further activities in this area. Many other Members, however, although noting the importance and urgency of the application of the ecosystem approach to fisheries, noted the primacy of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) with respect to the conservation and management of whales in the marine environment and expressed their concern that discussion on whaling in COFI might detract from other important fisheries issues. Other Members pointed out that other organizations had a role to play with respect to the conservation and management of mammals, for example the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO).

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