(Agenda item 6)
85. FAO presented key activities and issues concerning statistics for aquaculture. Two meetings held at FAO in 2004 concerning aquaculture were discussed. The Expert Consultation on Improving Reporting on Status and Trends for Aquaculture took place on 20-23 January 2004, and was followed by the Working Group of Experts on the FAO Aquaculture Questionnaire "FISHSTAT AQ" on 26-28 January 2004. These meetings and the adoption of a draft strategy for improving status and trends reporting for aquaculture are seen as the beginning of a process parallel to that done for capture fisheries. The Expert Consultation identified the following six thematic areas as important for reporting on aquaculture status and trends:
86. Recognizing that this represented a large expansion in the scope of required data, methods for obtaining these additional data were discussed including FAO questionnaires, special studies, regional organizations, or other means such as national aquaculture sectoral overviews. However, the Working Group acknowledged that the information sought on the FISHSTAT AQ should not be substantially increased. The revised questionnaire will be introduced within three years.
87. Another recommendation from the Expert Consultation was the formation of an advisory body for issues in aquaculture data and statistics, much as the CWP functions for capture fisheries. The CWP session discussed the possibilities for such a committee - in particular, whether this could be assumed within the existing CWP mission, or whether a sub-committee of the CWP, or an entirely new body, should be formed. After an informal polling of the members on their interest and relevance to aquaculture, the CWP agreed that for the present time the best solution was to have an interested subgroup of the CWP perform this function.
88. The meeting was informed of the FAO strategy for including the collection of aquaculture data in the next (2010) program of the World Census of Agriculture (WCA). The WCA will be composed of a core questionnaire with subject area "modules", including aquaculture. Countries could choose different levels of participation depending on cost and the national priorities. At a minimum, the core questionnaire would establish the presence or absence of aquaculture on the agricultural holding, with the module for aquaculture conducted if there is a positive response. A more comprehensive proposal in terms of coverage of aquaculture would be to include aquaculture - only holdings in the sampling universe for the census - i.e. to expand the concept of an "agriculture holding". Additionally, the census could be used to create the sampling frame for subject-area surveys.
89. The complexities involved in obtaining accurate statistics for capture-based aquaculture (tuna-farming being the most prominent current example) were discussed. The CWP reaffirmed the concept of separating the capture and aquaculture components of capture-based aquaculture, while acknowledging the difficulties involved in collecting the data. The CWP was informed of the activities of the GFCM/ICCAT Ad Hoc Working Group on Tuna Farming and the development of guidelines to be completed imminently.
90. Possible use of a "capture-based aquaculture" worksheet to accompany the FISHSTAT AQ was discussed, with the idea that such a worksheet could reinforce the accepted definitions among data providers. It was agreed that activities in this area should be coordinated among the interested organizations. Eurostat informed the CWP meeting concerning of the proposed revision to aquaculture legislation and the attempts to assure compatibility with FAO data collections.