FAO WORKSHOP ON THE "FEASIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A REGIONAL COOPERATION NETWORK FOR AQUACULTURE IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN"
The Inland Fisheries Commission for Latin America (COPESCAL) in its Ninth Session held at El Salvador in January 2003, recommended FAO to undertake a feasibility study on the establishment of a network similar to the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific (NACA) promoted by FAO. Also, the Twenty-fifth Session of the Committee of Fisheries (COFI) held in Rome, Italy in February 2003 reviewed the work done by NACA and several Members expressed their interest in the establishment of a similar mechanism in the Americas and the Pacific Islands, and requested the relevant support of FAO for a study on this purpose.
The concept of a network of aquaculture centres or a cooperation network for the development of aquaculture in Latin America and the Caribbean has been of interest for the countries of the region since long ago and much effort has been devoted to the establishment of a sustainable regional cooperation mechanism for the development of aquaculture in the region. However, the lack of commitment by the countries and the difficulties to identify donors interested in supporting aquaculture regional cooperation have impeded the establishment of a network or a regional mechanism in a sustainable manner.
In order to comply with the mandate of the fisheries bodies mentioned above, FAO conducted a study to determine alternatives for the creation of a regional cooperation network for the support of aquaculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. The results of this study were utilized as an input for the basis of discussion of the present workshop.
The workshop was held in the Hotel Country Inn & Suites, Panama Canal Amador of Panama, Republic of Panama from 6 to 8 December 2004. Twenty experts from 9 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada and the United Nations and one observer of OSPESCA (Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector in Central America) attended the workshop. FAO support included technical inputs as well as provision of funds to cover meeting expenses of participants, and for interpretation.
The workshop analyzed the present status of aquaculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: its contribution to economic and social development and the main problems that affect its development; as well as the background on regional cooperation for the development of aquaculture. The main objective of this FAO-organized workshop was to determine the technical, institutional, political and financial feasibilities of establishing a network of aquaculture centres in Latin America and the Caribbean based on an FAO study and on additional information from other similar initiatives such as those reported by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Latin American Organization for Fisheries Development (OLDEPESCA).
Main Outcomes of the workshop
Conclusions and recommendations produced by the workshop are inclusive of all current efforts to develop proposals for a regional aquaculture cooperation network and may constitute a potential step forward in such efforts.
The workshop recommended that one single intergovernmental cooperation network for the development of aquaculture should be created and that all interested countries of the American continent would be invited to participate. The Network would be willing to establish links through inter-regional cooperation taking into consideration the experience of similar networks.
The type of cooperation mechanism, key subjects that should be addressed by the Network, geographical scope of the cooperation mechanism, possible structure of the network and sources of financing were discussed and agreed by the workshop participants.
Experts were informed of, and invited to contribute to, FIRIs initiatives on: NASOs (National Aquaculture Sector Overviews), the forthcoming regional and global reviews of aquaculture development trends and DIAS (Database on Introductions of Aquatic Species).
The workshop report-Report of the Workshop on the Feasibility of Establishing a Regional Cooperation Network for Aquaculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. Panama, Republic of Panama, 6-8 December 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No. 773. Roma/Rome, FAO. 2005. 43p. (see List of Publications on page 46; available at: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/008/y6009b/y6009b00.pdf).
Environmental monitoring at salmon farming cages in Reloncavi, Southern Chile
Devin Bartley, FAO
Doris Soto, FAO
APEC WORKSHOP ON "FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN AQUACULTURE NETWORK FOR THE AMERICAS"
APEC, an intergovernmental organization, through a Project entitled APEC FWG 01/2004 "A Feasibility Study on the Establishment of and inter-Governmental Mechanism for the Development and Management of an Aquaculture Network for the Americas", carried out a study similar to the FAO study. The aim of the APEC study is to determine if and how to develop an intergovernmental mechanism for the development and management of a regional network that would facilitate trade in aquaculture products within the Americas and in other parts of the APEC region.
The objectives of the APEC study include a diagnosis of the present regional situation in selected countries for the purposes of establishing an intergovernmental mechanism for the development and management of an aquaculture cooperation network, of determining the best institutional and organizational structure and network requisites, and of holding a regional workshop to present the network proposal and have it discussed and endorsed by interested parties.
This APEC workshop, held at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México from 26-28 April 2005, was hosted by the Government of Mexico and sponsored by APEC FWG 01/2004 Project and the National Commission for Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA) of Mexico. The workshop was attended by 5 economies through their focal points to the project: namely, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and USA. Brazil and Ecuador, two non-APEC economies, were also invited to participate through their focal points. FAO participated as an observer.
The main objective of the workshop was to present and analyze the feasibility study for the establishment of an aquaculture network for the Americas (ANA) based on the work of two APEC consultants. The workshop received recommendations on the study and proposal for its official presentation to interested APEC +2 economies and identified guidelines on necessary actions for implementation.
Main Outcomes of the workshop
The economy experts recognized that there is a strong need to establish and maintain an intergovernmental network in the region as a basis for successful regional cooperation to foster sustainable development of aquaculture throughout the Americas but also recognized that permanent political and financial commitments from governments and institutions are essential.
The government of Mexico offered to host the core regional office for the network, including the provision of financial resources to cover costs for personnel, office space and equipment and basic operations.
The workshop recommended that the network should be envisaged as an intergovernmental mechanism for regional cooperation in aquaculture in the Americas and as such should start with APEC + 2 economies and later open to other economies or countries in the region.
The type of cooperation mechanism, major programs that should be conducted by the Network, major working areas, organizational and operational structure of the network; sources of financing, network benefits, interim focal points to assist in establishing the network; and strategy to establish and implement the network including guiding principles, goals and tasks were discussed and agreed by the workshop participants;
Experts were informed of, and invited to contribute to, FIRIs initiatives on: NASOs (National Aquaculture Sector Overviews); Prospective Analysis of Future Aquaculture Development (PAFAD); and the forthcoming regional and global reviews of aquaculture development trends.
STRATEGY FOR COPESCAL
FAO will present at its Tenth Session of COPESCAL, to be held in Panama City, from 7 to 9 September 2005, a discussion paper comparing the two proposals (i.e. the workshops of Panama and Mazatlan) as clear as possible, and determine (a) if COPESCAL member countries are indeed in agreement to take commitments for the establishment of a regional network and (b) if they want to enter the network to be established by APEC, oriented basically to issues related to international fish trade, or if they are ready to take commitment for the creation of a regional network with a wider scope, including aquaculture socio-economic development. The most important consideration will be that all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are included, perhaps through strengthening of COPESCAL. The outcomes of the discussions will be presented in the next issue of FAN.
|  Jose Aguilar - Manjarrez
Inland Water Resources and Aquacultre Service
FAO Fisheries Department, Rome e - mail: Jose.firstname.lastname@example.org