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Opening of the Workshop

1. The Workshop of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in the Mediterranean was held in Rome, Italy, on 23 and 26 June 2004.[1]

2. The Workshop was opened by Mr Alain Bonzon, Secretary of the Commission. Participants were welcomed by Mr Jean-François Pulvenis de Seligny, Director of the FAO Fishery Policy and Planning Division, who underlined the importance of their work in developing plans and strategies for consideration by GFCM in its efforts to combat IUU fishing.

3. The Secretary emphasized the importance of considering a practical, step-by-step approach to the implementation of the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU) within the GFCM framework. He stated that the objective of the Workshop was to suggest a Work Plan for the Commission with suggestions on how to address various areas of IUU fishing in the Mediterranean.

4. The Secretary provided the background to this Workshop. He noted relevant measures taken by GFCM over the years and recalled that, at its twenty-eighth session in October 2003, GFCM reviewed issues common to IUU fishing, including the status and implementation of the IPOA-IUU in the Mediterranean and recent actions and measures taken by selected regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) in this respect. The Commission acknowledged the wish expressed by Members that the implementation of the IPOA-IUU be addressed at both national and regional levels through GFCM. It decided to adopt a step-by-step approach so that the various dimensions of the issue could be tackled in a holistic manner. In this respect, some delegations recalled that the establishment of "white" and "black" lists of vessels should be the initial undertaking.

5. The Commission agreed that a workshop of experts from GFCM Members on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in the Mediterranean should be organized immediately after the June 2004 FAO Technical Consultation to Review Progress and Promote the Full Implementation of the IPOA to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing and the IPOA for the Management of Fishing Capacity (June 2004 FAO Technical Consultation).

6. The Secretary referred to the subsequent Declaration of the Ministerial Conference for the Sustainable Development of Fisheries in the Mediterranean, November, 2003 (the 2003 Ministerial Declaration), and noted that the Declaration, making specific reference to GFCM,

7. Based on the above background and relevant measures adopted by GFCM, the Secretary invited the Workshop to formulate a Work Plan suggesting how various areas of IUU fishing in the Mediterranean could be addressed and taking into account the practicalities of a step-by-step approach and cost-efficiency considerations.

[1] Names of participants may be found in Appendix B, pp. 10 - 11.
[2] The principles specified were that (a) it must be in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement establishing the GFCM and relevant existing international law; (b) the emphasis must be placed on the primary responsibility of the flag state as well as on the responsibility of the port state and of the coastal state to ensure compliance with management measures; and (c) account must be taken of the cost-effectiveness of both the general measures applicable to all fisheries and the specific measures applicable on a case-by-case basis to certain fisheries.

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