6. The Secretariat summarized the developments and activities since the Twenty-eighth Session of APFIC (Chiang Mai, Thailand, 3-5 August 2004) detailed in documents APFIC:ExCo/05/2 and APFIC: ExCo/05/Inf.5.
7. To facilitate the transformation of APFIC into a Regional Consultative Forum and to implement priority work in fisheries, the Secretariat carried out a number of activities in response to the recommendations of the above session of the Commission. The APFIC website, http://www.apfic.org, an information portal and repository for all forms of regional fishery information, has been launched. The website provides information that is targeted at fisheries professionals in the region, and also serves as a link to other regional fishery bodies, organizations and arrangements. The website is also providing coverage of fisheries related aspects of the devastation caused by the 26 December 2004 tsunami waves. The Secretariat demonstrated the site and informed the Committee of the possibility for members to be given access to the site to post national fishery related information. The Committee expressed its satisfaction with the development of the website and agreed that it would greatly improve access to APFIC information. The Committee requested the Secretariat to contact the members formally regarding the possibility of providing login access to the site.
8. Several publications have also been produced, notably, inter alia A research agenda for small-scale fisheries (RAP Publication 2004/21); Status and potential of fisheries and aquaculture in Asia and the Pacific (RAP Publication 2004/25); Regional strategic framework for the rehabilitation of fisheries and aquaculture in tsunami affected countries in Asia (RAP Publication 2005/09); Inland fisheries enhancement (RAP Publication 2005/12); Asian fisheries today: The production and use of low value/trash fish from marine fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region (RAP Publication 2005/16).
9. The Secretariat also participated in and organized a number of workshops and technical consultations in the region either directly or in collaboration with other regional fishery bodies or arrangements; for example, Bangladesh national fishery strategy (13-17 December 2004 and 16-20 May 2005); Regional Workshop on IUU, Penang, Malaysia (10-14 October 2004); and DOF/EU-CHARM "Fishing Communities and Livelihoods in Tsunami Aftermath", Phuket, Thailand (14-15 February 2005).
10. The Secretariat successfully organized three major regional consultative workshops which would provide significant input for the forthcoming APFIC Regional Consultative Forum Meeting. These were the Workshop on the Rehabilitation of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Coastal Communities of Tsunami Affected Countries in Asia (Bangkok, 28 February-1 March 2005); the APFIC Regional Workshop on Low-Value and "Trash Fish" in the Asia-Pacific Region, Hanoi, 7-9 June 2005; and the APFIC Regional Workshop on "Mainstreaming" Fisheries Co-management, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 9-12 August 2005.
11. Preparations for the First APFIC Regional Consultative Forum Meeting (RCFM) are in progress (see Agenda Item 7).
12. The Senior Regional Fishery Officer of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, concurrently Secretary of APFIC, participated in the Twenty-sixth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI), Rome, Italy (7-11 March 2005) which was immediately followed by the Ministerial Meeting (12 March 2005) and by the Fourth Meeting of Regional Fishery Bodies Secretariats (14-15 March 2005). The APFIC Secretariat also participated in the development of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem project financed by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and in the Consortium to Restore Shattered Communities in Tsunami-affected Nations (CONSRN), which will be covered further under Agenda Item 4. As directed by the Commission, close cooperation has been extended to other regional and international bodies and arrangements concerned with fisheries and the environment, including, amongst others, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the WorldFish Center.
13. During the intersessional period, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific assisted several countries in the region in the implementation of national and regional Technical Cooperation Projects (TCPs) in the areas of fish production, management, policy and planning, and legislation.
14. The Committee noted that priority should continue to be given to small-scale fisheries and rural aquaculture. It also emphasized that APFICs monitoring of the tsunami impact should focus on fishery resources and the ecosystem. It appreciated the cooperation extended by APFIC to the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem programme recently approved by GEF.
15. The Committee agreed that other information of interest should include the monitoring of fishing gear and management, with a view to preventing overcapacity and overfishing; the collaboration with ASEAN food safety and quality issues, in which APFIC could have a role to play. The Secretariat might wish to explore the possibility of including some new areas of interest such as: policy and legislation; assistance to the Members in developing national fisheries strategies; studies on the cost-effective VMS and MCS systems and appropriate means for the saving of energy used by fishing vessels. APFIC would also support member countries by increasing awareness over issues such as the CITES listing process and food safety and quality issues related to regional and international trade.
16. The Committee noted with appreciation the initiatives and activities undertaken by the APFIC Secretariat and the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific during the intersessional period and agreed that they would contribute substantially towards the implementation of the work of the Commission and the transformation of APFIC into a Regional Consultative Forum. It directed that the report on the intersessional activities be submitted to the Commission for approval at its twenty-ninth session.
17. The Committee also requested the Secretariat to explore the possibility of increasing staff support to maintain the expanded range of activities of APFIC.