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ANNEXES

ANNEX 1
REGIONAL COMMISSION FOR FISHERIES (RECOFI)
WORKING GROUP ON AQUACULTURE (WGA)
REPORT OF THE FIRST MEETING

Manama, Bahrain, 18–20 April 2004

OPENING OF THE SESSION

1. The first Meeting of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) Working Group on Aquaculture (WGA) was held from 18 to 20 April 2004 in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Mr Mohammed Saif, Secretary of RECOFI, formally opened the Meeting on behalf of DrJacques Diouf, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Mr Jassim Ahmed Al-Qaseer, Director of the Marine Resources Directorate, Kingdom of Bahrain, welcomed the participants to Bahrain and wished the Working Group well in their deliberations and discussions. The participants and observers were invited to introduce themselves. The list of participants is attached as Appendix A.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SESSION

2. The Agenda was presented by Mr Abdulredha J. Shams, WGA Interim Chairperson, and was adopted with some minor modifications. The Agenda is attached as Appendix B and the list of meeting documents is attached as Appendix C. The election of the chairperson was deferred until the end of the Meeting.

RECOFI RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO THE WORKING GROUP

3. The Secretariat (Mr Alessandro Lovatelli, WGA Technical Secretary) reviewed the history and the purpose behind the creation of the Working Group on Aquaculture. The need for active participation from the countries through the assigned “Focal Points” was emphasized. The Working Group belongs to the participants and they need to take an active role in identifying the issues to be addressed in future meetings. Eventually members should put forth ideas for further work and develop project proposals for these initiatives with the technical assistance of the Secretariat.

4. It was stressed that this Working Group should make recommendations on how to move forward, including proposals to the Commission and to the national governments.

5. The Secretariat introduced for discussion the paper “Status Report on the RECOFI Working Group on Aquaculture” (RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/2). Two activities that had been previously suggested for the Working Group by RECOFI were identified for discussion during this session: (i) Consultation on regional aquaculture legislation including a review of existing laws and recommendations for a regional legislative structure; and (ii) Establishment of a regional aquaculture information system.

6. It had been proposed that the Working Group on Aquaculture adopt a logo. The Secretariat presented four possible designs that had been developed. The Working Group identified a favourite out of the submitted designs. The Group also made some suggestions including the inclusion of a map of the RECOFI region and the inclusion of a symbol particular to aquaculture such as a cage or a sketch of a life cycle for a species. It was recognized that all this may not be possible in a small logo. The Secretariat will send out a revised version for approval by the Focal Points.

7. The budget of the WGA was discussed. The RECOFI Secretary explained the current situation with the Commission's budget in general and invited the WGA to prepare a proposal with regards to its financial need. This proposal would be discussed at the next session of the Commission. The Group recognized that a budget allocation could only be approved by the Commission. However, considering that the next RECOFI session would be held in May 2005, the WGA Chairperson invited all Focal Points seek funds from their Governments as well as to contact private sector for possible contribution to the WGA budget.

UPDATES OF COUNTRY AQUACULTURE REPORTS

8. The WGA Focal Points were invited to present short updates on the status of aquaculture development in their country. In addition, written reports were distributed to the Group. The major changes and developments since the Second Session of RECOFI were discussed.

9. New aquaculture centres (e.g. Kuwait), new hatchery facilities (e.g. United Arab Emirates - UAE) and new species under production (e.g. Yellow fin tuna in Oman and Panaeus vannamei) were highlighted.

10. In addition, an observer from the National Prawn Company (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) presented an overview of their experience developing fully-integrated shrimp farming in Saudi Arabia over the last 22 years. Additionally, their experience with experimental culture of marine fish was discussed.

NATIONAL AQUACULTURE SECTOR OVERVIEW (NASO)

11. The Secretariat (Mr Valerio Crespi, Fishery Resources Officer - Information) introduced the paper “National Aquaculture Sector Overview (NASO): An Activity of the FAO Fisheries Department” (RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/3).

12. The development of NASO has been requested by the FAO Member countries during the first two Sessions of the COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture in order to respond to the increasing public demand for transparency and accountability of information concerning aquaculture at a national level. The presentation detailed the main components of NASO. It is a comprehensive, concise, dynamic and a multi-domain product. The development process to produce NASO was presented and clarified.

13. The meeting participants appreciated the structure of NASO and expressed their interest in developing their own NASO. They agreed to provide a draft NASO for each of the RECOFI Member countries by the end of July 2004. A “Focal Point” for each country would need to be identified for this activity. Information should be written following the NASO template which will be sent to the Focal Points by the Secretariat.

ESTABLISHING A LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR AQUACULTURE

14. Mr Melvin Spreij, FAO Legal Consultant, introduced the paper “Establishing a Legal Framework for Aquaculture” (RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/5).

15. The collection of laws and regulations from all RECOFI Member countries and a comparison of the degree of development among the countries were identified as priority activities in the WGA Proposed Work Programme 2003–2004 during the Second Session of the Commission. The aims are for an external evaluation of the existing legislation, highlight improvement areas, where necessary, and make recommendations on common regulations that could be adopted at a regional level.

16. A brief introduction was given to the establishment of a legal framework for aquaculture in general. The main international instruments were highlighted due to the influence they have on the development of national legislation. They include voluntary instruments such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) and binding international agreements such as the Biosafety Protocol, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The International Aquatic Animal Health Code of the World Organization for Animal Health. Is also relevant.

17. Next, the place of aquaculture in the national legal framework was described. Some countries have no legislation on aquaculture whatsoever while others have comprehensive legal frameworks in place. Characteristically, aquaculture involves many issues. For instance, aquaculture depends on natural resources such and land and water as well as impacts on the environment through the discharge of wastewater, the use of chemicals and drugs and the introduction and movement of species. The protection of aquatic animal health is a major issue of concern and finally, the aquaculture product must be safe for consumption too. Consequently, aquaculture is often addressed under a wide range of various laws and regulations which makes it a difficult activity to regulate. In addition, enforcement is often identified as a weak link due to budget constraints, lack of manpower and overlap of laws of institutions.

18. It was stated that the challenge that RECOFI countries are beginning to address is the need to review and reform their regulatory framework applicable to aquaculture. This is to ensure that unnecessary legal and bureaucratic obstacles are removed and to ensure that the sector develops in a sustainable manner. Governments must recognize aquaculture as distinct agriculture sector, integrate aquaculture into resource and development planning, improve the management of aquaculture (in particular where it has the potential to be socially or environmentally unsustainable) and improve food safety standards.

19. The WGA identified several common issues of concern which may require a region-wide approach. They included the introduction and movement of exotic species, the protection of aquatic animal health, the application and implementation of strict food safety standards required by major importing countries such as the European Union and the United States of America and the pollution of marine waters caused by aquaculture farms.

20. The participants were invited to present a brief overview on the status of aquaculture legislation in their country. To a certain extent, the level of development of legislation is related to the importance of aquaculture in the various countries. Oman already has adopted rules and regulations on many of the issues that are relevant to aquaculture. Iran (Islamic Republic of) reported to have established special guidelines for aquaculture in 1999. Some countries have included several articles on aquaculture in their basic fisheries law which is dealing mainly with the application process (UAE, Saudi Arabia). Kuwait reported to be in the process of developing aquaculture legislation. Countries that still have no or little aquaculture activity have limited their regulation of aquaculture to a so-called “enabling clause” in their basic fisheries law (e.g. Bahrain), or to the preparation of standard application forms for the issuance of aquaculture licenses, discharge permits and environmental authorizations (e.g. Qatar).

21. It was recommended by the WGA for the Secretariat to seek assistance from FAO through a preparatory mission to develop a regional Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) which should eventually culminate in the drafting and preparation of regional guidelines or a code of conduct for sustainable aquaculture development in the region. It was agreed that on the long-term, the best results would be obtained by following a comprehensive approach to set up and carry out the project. The preparatory mission should therefore be carried out by a legal consultant and an aquaculture expert in order to review and assess the national legislation in the various RECOFI countries and to review their aquaculture management frameworks and policies. The legal consultant and the aquaculture expert should prepare a report with findings, conclusions and detailed recommendations, including the preparation of a work plan and the final TCP document. This should be followed by discussion and approval of the report, including the work plan and the final TCP proposal, during a workshop.

22. The WGA agreed upon the Terms of References (TOR) for the legal consultant and for the aquaculture expert. In addition, it formulated the justification for the preparatory mission, its objective and its results (see Appendix D). The Focal Points invited the Secretariat to approach FAO to see whether an advance allocation for a regional TCP is possible. It was pointed out that the granting of an advance allocation does not automatically guarantee that the total TCP will be funded.

23. It was agreed that FAO will prepare a draft letter with an official request for a sub-regional TCP. This request must be sent by all RECOFI countries (preferably at ministerial level) to the Director General of FAO and copies to the Deputy Director General, Assistant Director General of the Fisheries Department and to the Office of the Legal Counsel. A sub-regional TCP can be justified only if the Director General receives a request from at least three RECOFI countries. It was further agreed that the Interim Chairman would also present a recommendation for a letter to the DG-FAO at the ministerial level at the coming Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Fisheries Committee scheduled in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 4May 2004.

24. Finally, it was agreed that the WGA Secretariat will be informed within two weeks about the estimated budget that is required for carrying out the preparatory mission. If funding is not readily available by FAO, or FAO cannot fund the entire TCP, other sources of funding will be required. The WGA agreed that the RECOFI countries will use all their efforts to explore the possibilities of other funding.

DATA AND STATISTICS FOR AQUACULTURE IN THE RECOFI REGION

25. The Secretariat (Mr Alan Lowther, Fishery Statistician - Aquaculture) introduced the topic of improving the collection of aquaculture data and highlighted the topics in the paper “Current Status of Aquaculture Data in the Gulf region: Improving the Statistics Concurrently with the Development of the Sector” (RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/4). Basic statistics on aquaculture production in the region were presented, followed by an overview of FAO procedures for the annual compilation of global aquaculture statistics. Basic concepts regarding data collection at a national level were outlined including the use of census and survey methodologies. It was stressed that the best data collection system for each country will depend on the nature of the activity and industry in the country.

26. A FAO Fisheries software product, the ARTFISH (Approaches, Rules and Techniques for Fisheries Statistical Monitoring) system for data collection, compilation and estimation was discussed. The development of this software for aquaculture data has been completed and is currently being tested. This software and related training materials will soon be available through the FAO Web page. The WGA expressed great interest in the ARTFISH system. The Secretariat will inform the members by e-mail when the information is available.

27. Some discrepancies were noted between the data presented earlier during the country updates and the data currently in the FAO database. The Secretariat and FAO Fisheries Information, Data and Statistics Unit (FIDI) will follow-up with the members to confirm the correct data. In addition, FIDI will send the names and addresses where the FAO fisheries statistical questionnaires are sent to the WGA Focal Points. This will allow FIDI to confirm that they are being sent to the appropriate persons.

28. The members of the WGA were invited to report on the data collection procedures in their countries. For some countries it was very simple because all aquaculture production comes from a small number of companies. Some of these members expressed interest in the ARTFISH system since they expect the sector to grow. For larger countries, more detailed systems were described.

DEVELOPMENT OF A REGIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEM

29. The Secretariat (Mr V. Crespi) presented the working paper on the “Establishment of a Regional Aquaculture Information System” (RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/6).

30. The development of a regional aquaculture information system has been requested by the RECOFI Member countries during the last two sessions of RECOFI in order to respond to (a) the increasing development of aquaculture in the region; (b) the increasing need to develop a regional system facilitating the exchange of information; (c) to assist the private and public sectors to have quick and easy access to information required for decision making, both on specific technical matters and for the design and assessment of new aquaculture projects; (d) to respond at the increasing public demand for transparency and accountability of information concerning aquaculture at national and regional level; and (e) to secure a position in the international information scene giving more visibility to the regional aquaculture development and related activities. The presentation detailed the main potential components of a Regional information system.

31. The purpose of this activity should consist in gathering information on the aquaculture sector in RECOFI Member countries (e.g. national aquaculture sector overview, statistics, bibliographies, reports and photos, names and addresses of private and government institutions involved in aquaculture activities, names of specialists working in aquaculture, training opportunities, ongoing research activities). This information could be collected in a common system and made available on a dedicated Web site.

32. The proposed name of the information system suggested was “RECOFI Aquaculture Information System (RAIS)”. This name was discussed but no final decision was taken. The “RAIS” network would consist of a regional centre composed by several professionals including a Regional Coordinator (Information Officer) and a Web Master located in one of the RECOFI countries as well as one National Centre for each RECOFI Member countries. Each National Centre would be represented by a National Coordinator.

33. The participants appreciated the structure of the proposed regional information system and expressed their interest in developing it. All the participants agreed to start with the development of a static information system simply based on HTML pages. In the future a regional database linked to the Web pages could be developed according to the requirements of the RECOFI Member countries. It was noted that both Kuwait and the Islamic Republic of Iran had offered to host the Regional Centre of “RAIS”. After a brief discussion the participants jointly agreed that Kuwait would be in a better position to host the Regional Centre.

34. With regards to timing and work flow the following steps were identified and agreed upon: (a) agreement on the final product that will be developed (e.g. static HTML pages, use of other specific software); (b) three months to organize the regional centre in Kuwait (e.g. space, equipment, developers); (c) three months to identify all the National Centres and nomination of the “National Coordinators”; (d) the Secretariat will provide a list of input that should be developed by each RECOFI Member countries in order to prepare the material that should feed into the system; (e) the Focal Point of Kuwait and FAO will provide a budget estimation for the development of RAIS and for its maintenance; (f) design RAIS together with FAO (e.g. contents, Web design). The participants asked technical support from FAO. The Secretariat ensured funding for the travel and DSA of an Information Officer; (f) the first draft of RAIS could be ready and presented at the next Commission session that will be held in Qatar in May 2005.

OTHER MATTERS

35. The Secretariat identified several common issues of concern which may require a region-wide approach. Among them the introduction and movement of exotic species should be reported to DIAS (Database on Introduction of Aquatic Species) which is one of FAO's information systems. The Secretariat presented the DIAS Web site and its contents and distributed a hard copy of the input form to all participants. All the participants agreed on the importance to provide this information and also agreed to send all the information requested by filling in the input form as soon as possible. Periodically, this information will be validated and added to the DIAS database.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

36. The Meeting was expertly chaired by Dr A.J. Shams, Manager of the National Mariculture Center under the Directorate of Marine Resources of Bahrain and RECOFI-WGA Interim Chairperson. Dr Shams also ensured that the local and meeting arrangements were of superior quality. Activities outside of the Meeting were arranged including a visit of the National Mariculture Center and a tour of the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC). The hospitality of the Kingdom of Bahrain was greatly appreciated by the participants.

ELECTION OF THE CHAIRPERSON

37. The WGA Focal Points appreciated the excellent work carried out by the Interim Chairperson, Mr A.J. Shams who was unanimously elected as chairperson for the next three years to coincide with the organization of the Fourth Session of the Commission.

DATE AND PLACE OF THE SECOND WGA MEETING

38. The WGA Focal Points proposed to hold its next meeting sometime after the Third RECOFI Session scheduled for May 2005. The Focal Point of Saudi Arabia expressed interest to host the meeting. The exact dates of the meeting would be discussed and agreed upon during the next RECOFI Session.

ANNEX 1A - Report Appendix A
List of participants

MEMBERS OF RECOFI

BAHRAIN

Jassim Ahmed Al-Qaseer
Director General
General Directorate for the Protection of Marine Resources
PO Box 20071
Manama
Tel.: +973 17729595
Fax: +973 17728459
E-mail: Jaq52@batelco.com.bh

Abdulredha Jassim Shams
National Mariculture Center
Directorate of Marine Resources
General Directorate for the Protection of Marine Resources
PO Box 20071
Manama
Tel.: +973 17840499
Fax: +973 17840294
Mob.: +973 39626696
E-mail: ajshams@batelco.com.bh

Adly A. Alansari
National Mariculture Center
Directorate of Marine Resources
General Directorate for the Protection of Marine Resources
PO Box 20071
Manama
Tel.: +973 17840499
Fax: +973 17840294
Mob.: +973 39448458
E-mail: adly10@yahoo.com

IRAN (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF)

Omidreza Asghari
Fisheries Company of Iran
West Fatemi Avenue No. 250
Shilat Building, 2nd Floor
Tehran
Tel.: +98 21 6941674
Fax: +98 21 6941673
Mob.: +98 9121 590752
E-mail: omidreza_asghari@hotmail.com

KUWAIT

Haider A. Murad
Deputy Director General
Public Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries Resources (PAAFR)
PO Box 21422 Safat
Code No. 13075
Tel.: +965 4725879 Fax: +965 4725876 / 4765551
Mob.: +965 6470017
E-mail: drhmurad@yahoo.com

Mubarak Al-Mughrabi
Aquaculture Specialist
Public Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries Resources (PAAFR)
PO Box 21422 Safat
Code No. 13075
Tel.: +965 4725879
Fax: +965 4725876
Mob.: +965 9818163
E-mail: kifan767@yahoo.com

Muna Al-Othman (Ms)
Aquaculture Specialist
Public Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries Resources (PAAFR)
PO Box 21422 Safat
Code No. 13075
Tel.: +965 4725879
Fax: +965 4725876
Mob.: +965 9637057
E-mail: alothman_m@hotmail.com

OMAN

Dawoud Suleiman Al-Yahyai
Head of Aquaculture Laboratory
Marine Sciences & Fisheries Centre
Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries
PO Box 467
PC 113 Muscat
Tel.: +968 740061 / 62
Fax: +968 740159
Mob.: +968 9350730
E-mail: daw@hotmail.com
             dodo_935@yahoo.com

QATAR

Mohammed E. M. Al-Qayed
Head, Aquaculture Unit
Fishery Department
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture
PO Box 446
Tel.: +974 4838309
Fax: +974 4931310
Mob.: +974 5508411
E-mail: mohammed@alqayed.com

SAUDI ARABIA (KINGDOM OF)

Mohammad Japer Al-Sahli
General Director
Aquaculture Department
Ministry of Agriculture
PO Box 31600
Riyadh 11418
Tel.: +966 1 4031635
Fax: +966 1 4031635
Mob.: +966 55211693
E-mail: aqua@agrwt.gov.sa
             mjaper@hotmail.com

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (THE)

Mustafa Abdulkader Al-Shaer
Head of Aquaculture Section
Marine Resources Research Center
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
PO Box 21
Umm-Al-Qaiwain
Tel.: +971 6 7655881
Fax: +971 6 7655581
Mob.: +971 50 6593953
E-mail: mrrc.maf@uae.gov.ae

OBSERVERS FROM NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Abdel Rahman El-Gamal
Senior Aquaculture Scientist
WorldFish Center
Abbassa, Abou Hammad
Sharkia, 44662
PO Box 1261 Maadi
Cairo 11728
Tel.: +20 2 055 3404226 / 7
Fax: +20 2 055 3405578
Mob.: +20 012 7456861
E-mail: aelgamal@worldfish-eg.org

OBSERVERS

Ahmed Ali
General Services Superintendent
Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company
PO Box 26730
Manama
Bahrain
Tel.: +973 17733396
Fax: +973 17731047
Mob.: +973 39603489
E-mail: gpic@gpic.com

Maitham Al-Oraibi
Shift Supervisor
Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company
PO Box 26730
Manama
Bahrain
Tel.: +973 17733377
Fax: +973 17731047
Mob.: +973 39464490
E-mail: maoraibi@hotmail.com

Ebrahim Abdulqader
Researcher
Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research
PO Box 496
Manama
Bahrain
Tel.: +973 17750849
Fax: +973 17754822
E-mail: eabdulqader@bcsr.gov.bh

Essa Abdulla Al-Yosif
General Manager
Awal Fishing Company
PO Box 1914
Manama
Bahrain
Tel.: +973 17226588
Fax: +973 172214150
Mob.: +973 39666136
E-mail: fdelmon@batelco.com.bh

Haydar H. Alsahtout
Operations Senior Manager
National Prawn Company
PO Box 2025
Al-Eith 21961
Saudi Arabia
Tel.: +966 7 7420742
Fax: +966 7 7420743
Mob.: +966 54529673
E-mail: haydar@robian.com.sa

FAO

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy

Alessandro Lovatelli
Fishery Resources Officer (Aquaculture)
Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI)
Fishery Resources Division
FAO Fisheries Department
Tel.: +39 06 57056448
Fax: +39 06 57053020
E-mail: alessandro.lovatelli@fao.org

Valerio Crespi
Fishery Resources Officer
Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI)
Fishery Resources Division
FAO Fisheries Department
Tel.: +39 06 57055617
Fax: +39 06 57053020
E-mail: valerio.crespi@fao.org

Alan Lowther
Fishery Statistician (Aquaculture)
Fisheries Information, Data and Statistics Unit (FIDI)
FAO Fisheries Department
Tel.: +39 06 57054029
Fax: +39 06 57052476
E-mail: alan.lowther@fao.org

Melvin Spreij
FAO Consultant
Development Law Service (LEGN)
Legal Office
Tel.: +39 06 57056523 Fax: +39 06 57054408 E-mail: melvin.spreij@fao.org

RECOFI SECRETARIAT

Mohammad Saif Abdullah
Senior Fisheries Officer
RECOFI Secretary
FAO Regional Office for the Near East
11 Al Eslah El Zerai Street
PO Box 2223
Cairo
Egypt
Tel.: +20 2 3316141 / 3316000
Fax: +20 2 7495981 / 3373419
Mob.: +20 10 1772192
E-mail: mohammad.saif@fao.org

ANNEX 1B - Report Appendix B
Agenda

  1. Opening of the Session

  2. Adoption of the Agenda and arrangements for the Session

  3. Report on the discussion and recommendations of the WGA to the Second Session of RECOFI

  4. WGA Status Report

  5. Country aquaculture updates and presentation of the “National Aquaculture Sector Overview” (NASO) activity of the FAO Fisheries Department

  6. Country aquaculture legislation reports - National institutional arrangements for aquaculture development and management

  7. Aquaculture legislation and regional developments - Recommendations

  8. Country aquaculture information system reviews

  9. Current status of aquaculture data in the Gulf region: Improving the statistics concurrently with the development of the sector

  10. Presentation of a regional aquaculture information system proposal

  11. Assistance for aquaculture development in the region

  12. Discussion and Recommendations

  13. Future work plan and review of recommendation

  14. Any other matters

  15. Election of the Chairperson

  16. Date and place of the Second RECOFI-WGA Meeting

ANNEX 1C - Report Appendix C
List of documents

RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/1Provisional Agenda and Timetable
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/2Status report on the RECOFI Working Group on Aquaculture
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/3National Aquaculture Sector Overview: An Activity of the FAO FisheriesDepartment
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/4Current status of aquaculture data in the Gulf region: Improving the statistics concurrently with the development of the sector
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/5Establishing a Legal Framework for Aquaculture
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/6Establishment of a Regional Aquaculture Information System
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/Inf.1Provisional List of Documents
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/Inf.2Provisional List ofParticipants
RECOFI:WGA/I/2004/Inf.3Report of the Second Session of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (Muscat, Oman, 18–21 May 2003)

ANNEX 1D - Report Appendix D
Project justification, objectives and draft terms of references

Project justification

The aquaculture sector in the RECOFI region, although still in an initial stage, is rapidly expanding. Between the years1997 and 2001 production in the area has nearly doubled. It is crucial for the protection and preservation of the marine aquatic environment and its natural resources in the RECOFI region that any further expansion of the sector takes place in a sustainable manner. Generally, the countries have few laws and regulations in place that regulates the aquaculture sector. If a country has some form of regulation, it is often limited, outdated and applied to the sector in an inconsistent manner. Only some countries require the carrying out of an environmental impact assessment before setting up and operating an aquaculture facility. In addition, in most countries there are overlaps and inconsistencies among the various ministries and government authorities and agencies involved. The following issues of common concern justify a region-wide approach: the introduction and movement of exotic species, the protection of aquatic animal health, the application and implementation of strict food safety standards required by major importing countries, and the pollution of marine waters caused by aquaculture establishments.

Objective

Strengthening the aquaculture sectors of the RECOFI Member countries, increase the sectors' contribution to the economy and to food security in the region and development of the aquaculture sector is a sustainable manner.

Output

TOR for the Legal Expert

TOR for the Aquaculture Expert

TOR for the Aquaculture Policy Expert

ANNEX 2
TECHNICAL AQUACULTURE MEETING
5
Recommendations to RECOFI on the formation of a Working Group on Aquaculture

Muscat, Oman, 18–19 May 2003

5 This document appears as Appendix D in the Report of the Second session of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) held in Muscat, Oman, from 18 to 21 May 2003. The document, generated during a technical aquaculture meeting immediately preceding the second session of the Commission, containing the recommendations on the form and structure of the aquaculture body along with a proposed work programme for 2003–2004 was prepared and submitted to the Commission for consideration and approval.

BACKGROUND

Regional cooperation on Aquaculture Development

1. During the first RECOFI Session in Oman (6–8 October 2001) and the last “Ad Hoc Technical Meeting on the Management of Shrimp Fisheries and Aquaculture” held in Kuwait (18–21 February 2003) it was agreed that regional cooperation was needed aimed at further developing and strengthening the aquaculture sector in the RECOFI region.

2. Although RECOFI formally established an Ad hoc Working Group on Aquaculture during its First Session to evaluate and advise on the formation of an aquaculture body, little progress had been made in terms of formally discussing at a regional level the modalities in which the aquaculture body would operate, plan and implement activities as well as report to the Commission.

3. The main purpose of convening the last technical meeting in Kuwait was to start technical preparations in support of the Second RECOFI Session. The objectives are clearly reported on section 18 of the Note verbale prepared and circulated following the above mentioned meeting. For convenience and reference these are listed below:

  1. To review the status of aquaculture in the Gulf region and identify key issues affecting the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry.
  1. To identify areas of regional interest and cooperation among the RECOFI member countries.
  2. To study the practical implications of establishing a regional aquaculture subsidiary body under RECOFI including benefits to the Member countries and financial implications.
  3. To elaborate and draft the Terms of Reference (TORs) of a formal Working Group on Aquaculture (WGA).

4. In summary, the technical meeting recommended that a working aquaculture body be established to discuss technical issues, areas of regional interest and possible activities to be implemented, if approved and funded, during the annual work plan period of the Commission. Terms of Reference for an aquaculture body have been discussed and drafted (see Annex III of RECOFI/2003/Info/3). Furthermore, a preliminary list of technical assistance areas needed in the region was discussed (See Annex II of RECOFI/2003/Info/3). Four RECOFI countries, i.e. Iran (Islamic Republic of), Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, listed technical areas where assistance and acquired knowledge could be offered to the other RECOFI member countries. Similarly, areas where assistance was required at the national level were duly reported.

5. Based on the discussions held in Kuwait, the Second RECOFI Session working document on the “Review of the Aquaculture Situation in the RECOFI Area” (RECOFI/2003/4) summarizes the major priority areas as follows:

Facilitating commercialization

Addressing development constraints and regional cooperation

Meeting information requirements

Ensuring proper governance of the sector

Application of advanced methods and technologies

Addressing manpower needs

6. The same document suggests the following main recommendations in order to begin addressing the above priority areas for the development of aquaculture:

  1. RECOFI should consider establishing an "aquaculture subsidiary body or a recognized working group" that meets regularly to discuss relevant issues, activities and propose annual work plans. This body or working group would report directly to the main RECOFI Sessions. Member countries should appoint permanent focal aquaculture points.

  2. RECOFI should discuss and prioritize the preceding priority areas and request the "aquaculture subsidiary body or working group" to address one or more of those considered to be most urgent at its first meeting and to report to RECOFI at an appropriate time.

RECOMMENDATIONS and FIRST WORK PLAN (2003–2004)

7. The participants attending the Aquaculture Session from 18 to 19 May 2003 (Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) reviewed the recommendations made in Kuwait and discussed and concluded that the following issues should be taken-up by the Commission for consideration and approval:

Endorsement of the WGA

8. As mentioned above, the formation of an aquaculture body was considered during the First RECOFI Session and an Ad Hoc Working Group was formed to evaluate and advise on this matter during the Second Commission Session. However, subsequent formal and informal discussions have somewhat created confusion on the status of the RECOFI body dealing with aquaculture. The result of such confusion has slowed down the actual structuring and work organization of the said body. It is therefore recommended to the Commission that a Working Group on Aquaculture (WGA) be endorsed rather than the establishment of a Committee on Aquaculture. The main argument for such a proposal is to ensure that the WGA retains the flexibility required for carrying out its mandate and work plans which will be regularly submitted and discussed for approval at the annual sessions of the Commission.

WGA Structure and Annual Meeting

9. It is recommended that each RECOFI Member country identifies and officially communicates to the RECOFI Secretary a focal institute dealing with aquaculture and appoints a permanent and an alternate aquaculture specialist to the WGA. A WGA chairperson would then be nominated among the appointed specialists. He/she would act as chairperson for a period of two years. The main task of the chairperson would be to ensure that the approved work plan activities are initiated in a timely manner with the full support of the Focal Points in the other RECOFI Member countries and support and technical supervision from the RECOFI Secretariat. The other main task would be the organization of the annual WGA meeting, ensuring the preparation and timely distribution of an agenda that would allow the Focal Points to prepare all background material, if any.

10. It is recommended that the WGA meets on an annual basis to discuss (a) the progress of activities, and (b) the new annual work plan and budget requirements. The WGA would then report directly to the Commission. The first annual WGA meeting date and venue will be identified by the nominated WGA chairperson through correspondence with all other Focal Point members. The date and venue for the subsequent WGA annual meeting will be proposed and agreed upon as an agenda item during the preceding meeting. The Annual Meeting of the WGA would be hosted in different RECOFI countries and held at least one month prior to the Commission Session.

11. If the above recommendation is endorsed by the Commission it is understood that each RECOFI member country will enable its WGA Focal Point, and possibly a second person, to attend the Annual Meeting. Each RECOFI Member country will cover expenses for its Focal Point to attend the WGA Annual Meeting.

WGA Area of Coverage

12. It is recommended that the WGA focuses its mandate on marine and brackish water aquaculture since the Gulf is the water resource shared by all the RECOFI Member countries. Nevertheless, coverage of inland water aquaculture issues would not be excluded as issues of regional concern and importance will be raised and acted upon on a case-to-case basis following presentation and discussion at the annual WGA meetings.

WGA Proposed Work Programme 2003–2004

13. Due to the infancy of the WGA it is recommended that initially only the two activities described below are included in the next 1-year Work Programme and approved by the Commission.

Activity No. 1
Title:Consultation on Regional Aquaculture Legislation - A review of existing laws and recommendations for a regional legislative structure.
Scope:The main purpose of this activity is to collect existing specific and related aquaculture legislation from all RECOFI member countries and to compare the degree of development among the countries. The aim is for an external evaluation of the existing legislation, highlight improvement areas where necessary and make recommendations on common regulations that could be adopted at a regional level.
Main Activities:
  • Collection of all relevant and existing aquaculture legislation at the national levels.
    ACTION: WGA Focal Points.
  • Evaluation, comparison and regional legislative framework proposal prepared by an external consultant.
    TO BE IDENTIFIED.
  • Distribution of the proposal to the WGA Focal Points for review and comments prior to approval by the WGA in its next meeting.
    ACTION: WGA Focal Points.
  • Submit final proposal to the Commission for review and comments in its next meeting and follow-up actions.
    ACTION: WGA Chairperson.
Budget:US$15 000

Activity No. 2
Title:Establishment of a Regional Aquaculture Information System.
Scope:The purpose of this activity is to gather information on the aquaculture sector in RECOFI member countries (e.g. national aquaculture sector overview, statistics, bibliographies and reports, names and addresses of private and government institutions involved in aquaculture activities, names of specialists working in aquaculture, training opportunities, ongoing research activities). This information will be collected and made available on a dedicated Web site. This activity will also enable RECOFI member countries to regularly update the information. It will also facilitate contacts from international bodies to RECOFI aquaculture bodies and will also secure a position in the international information scene.
Main Activities:
  • Compile and approve a list of information to be collected at the national level.
    ACTION: WGA Chairperson and Focal Points.
  • Collect information according to approved list.
    ACTION: WGA Focal Points.
  • Recruit an aquaculture information specialist and a Web designer to design and develop a regional aquaculture Web site.
    ACTION: RECOFI Secretariat and WGA Chairperson.
  • Distribution of the proposed Web site to the WGA Focal Points for review and comments prior to approval by the WGA in its next meeting.
    ACTION: WGA Focal Points.
  • Input of first set of data into the Web site.
    ACTION: Web designer.
  • Training on Web site data-input and up-dating for identified persons from each RECOFI member country.
    ACTION: WGA Chairperson and Web site designer.
Budget:US$8 000

ANNEX 3
Terms of Reference
6
Working Group on Aquaculture (WGA)
RECOFI

6 The Commission endorsed the recommendation to establish a standing Working Group on Aquaculture (WGA) and its Terms of Reference at its second session held in Muscat, Oman, from 18 to 21 May 2003.

The Terms of Reference for the RECOFI Working Group on Aquaculture (WGA) shall be to:

The regular activities of RECOFI Secretariat related to the function of the Working Group on Aquaculture will be:

In addition to the regular activities of the Working Group on Aquaculture, indicated above, there could be additional activities which would require extra-budgetary resources which could take the form of specific projects, or a direct financial coverage of the activities by the countries hosting or participating in them, and which would be discussed by the Working Group on Aquaculture and RECOFI on a case-to-case basis. Example of these extra activities could be:

ANNEX 4
NOTE VERBALE
Ad hoc Meeting on the Management of Shrimp Fisheries and Aquaculture
RECOFI Region
7

7 This meeting was called by the RECOFI Secretariat to start technical preparations in support of the second session of RECOFI held in Muscat, Oman 13–14 May 2003.

16–18 February 2003
Salmiyah, Kuwait

ORGANIZATION OF THE MEETING

1. The Meeting was kindly hosted by the Mariculture and Fisheries Department of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), Salmiyah, Kuwait. After a short introductory session, the participants separated into two parallel sessions dealing with fisheries management and aquaculture, respectively.

2. The Meeting was attended by ten officials from six countries of the region, namely Bahrain, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Three FAO officers attended the meeting, one from the Regional Office for the Near East (Cairo, Egypt) and two from the FAO headquarters (Rome, Italy). The list of participants is attached as Annex I [not attached to this report].

3. It was noted that a major purpose of the Meeting was to start technical preparations in support of the next RECOFI Session to be held in Muscat, Oman 13–14 of May 2003. It is intended that technical meetings will precede the Commission Session (11–12 May) to further interim technical activities and to deal with issues that may be raised by the formal Commission meeting

4. It was agreed that the Meeting would produce no formal report, rather a Note verbale would be written by the Meeting's Secretariat, which would be made available in draft form to the participants.

FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

5. The meeting unanimously stressed the importance of having the same technical experts attend successive meetings to ensure that an institutional capacity and ‘corporate’ memory is developed - it was noted that this is essential if participants are to avoid starting from ‘square one’ at each technical meeting. It was also noted that the participants must be the appropriate experts from the relevant departments.

6. The meeting discussed how the technical group might support the Commission in making relevant and necessary fisheries management decisions. It was noted that a chairman or coordinator would be needed for a Shrimp Management Sub-committee or Working Group and that participants should begin to think about suitable nominees for this position (and indeed, other working groups/sub-committees that might be established).

7. It was noted that to initiate the process of providing support current efforts should be first restricted to what were believed to be two important issues (see points i. and ii.) though issues to do with fisheries for lobster and Scomberomorus were also identified. It was agreed that the Commission's views and confirmation should be sought on this issue.

  1. Management of marine shrimp capture fisheries; and
  2. Preparations to start activities of a RECOFI aquaculture subsidiary body or working group.

8. In an extended discussion on the need for statistics to support management of fisheries in the RECOFI region, options for addressing fisheries statistical issues were discussed. It was noted that a chairman or facilitator would be needed to coordinate any activity in the region.

9. In relation to the issues of statistics, it was agreed that there would be two requirements: (a) general reporting at the level of the Commission to communicate general trends in capture fisheries and (b), detailed information at the level of the fishery that is needed for stock assessment and provision of resource management advice.

10. It was explained that the purposes of undertaking the preparation of a RECOFI-region Shrimp Stocks Status Report were twofold. First, to document the status of shrimp fisheries, their management and relative research, and second, to provide an assessment approach that can be used for other important fisheries stocks at a regional level, e.g. Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson), the Serranid (harmoor) species complex and other more regionally restricted species.

11. The importance of addressing statistical issues was raised and whether an attempt should be made to address this explicitly in time for the first Commission Meeting. In this context, it was stressed that the collection and availability of accurate data describing catches and fishing effort by gear type is essential for effective fisheries management. In this context, another option considered was to address statistical issues within the context of the different species that are addressed by the specific species working groups.

12. The importance of CPUE in management of shrimp resources as an indicator of trends in abundance of shrimp biomass was noted. It was agreed that it would be of great benefit to undertake a regional (perhaps global) review of factors affecting “effort creep” - i.e. technological innovation in shrimp trawlers. The Iranian delegate offered to host such a meeting in his country if FAO would undertake its organization. The experience of Australia in this regard was noted and it was agreed that FAO should attempt to facilitate the participation of Australian and other similar experts in such a consultation.

13. The meeting discussed the benefits from on-board observer programmes, but no conclusion was reached on how this issue should be dealt with in the future.

14. The topic of how technical groups should be structured so as to best support the Commission was addressed (again). The model most in favour was that in which the activities of Aquaculture, Fisheries Management and Statistics directly reported to the Commission. The other option was for all technical activities report through a single Scientific Committee (as implied by the Commission's Convention).

15. It was agreed that there would be benefits from the preparation of a regional bibliography of reports dealing with management of shrimp fisheries in the RECOFI area. This bibliography should be managed by an appropriate body of RECOFI. This issue was seen within a longer-term vision that would lead to a Web site for marine science, fisheries and affairs of the RECOFI region.

16. The participant from Iran noted the issue of stock enhancement as a topic for possible RECOFI consideration. No conclusion was reached on this issue as some thought this subject would be better dealt with by the aquaculture group, if established.

17. The meeting requested that FAO explore/determine the regional interest in a technical meeting prior to the Commission Meeting to discuss management issues relating to Scomberomorus commerson and lobster.

Recommendations

  1. Managers should collect information from processors on the packing grade and species composition. In this regard, it was noted that processors automatically collect this information and there is no disincentive for them to not provide such data or to misreport the data. This information should be made available to the regional shrimp stock assessment working groups.

  2. Wherever possible, resource biologists should independently collect data on the species, sex and size composition of the catch, either by dockside sampling for daily fisheries or the periodic use of on-board “observers” who would directly measure a sample of the catch at the time of capture. This would enable real-time monitoring of recruitment to the fishery and possibly - with the support of the fishery-short-term or area closures when a preponderance of small shrimp occur in the catch.

AQUACULTURE

18. The objectives of the meeting were: (1) to review the status of aquaculture in the Gulf region and key issues affecting the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry; (2)to identify areas of regional interest and cooperation among the RECOFI Member countries; (3)to study the practical implications of establishing a regional aquaculture subsidiary body under RECOFI including benefits to the Member countries and financial implications; (4) to elaborate and draft Terms of Reference.

19. One representative of each of the following countries, Bahrain, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, attended the aquaculture session. The session was also partly attended by a representative of the Public Administration for Agriculture and Fisheries (PAAF) of Kuwait as an observer due to the absence of the appropriate technical officer.

20. The participants provided to the Secretariat written country reports on the status of aquaculture development (not included) with highlights on the status of aquaculture production. This provided the opportunity for each delegate to inform the meeting of the major constraints faced by their industry as well as areas in which it was felt that technical competence was achieved. Each delegate outlined technical areas where assistance and the acquired knowledge could be offered and shared with the neighbouring member states (AnnexII -not attached to this report).

21. The session participants unanimously agreed that regional collaboration among RECOFI Member countries was required in order to support the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry in the region. It was acknowledged that such regional collaboration could be strengthened and properly achieved if RECOFI formally endorsed at its next session the creation of a subsidiary body to study and report on aquaculture matters.

22. Based on the recommendations of previous meetings in the region (e.g. Oman, October 2002) the participants discussed and drafted a first set of terms of reference for a RECOFI subsidiary body (possibly a “Committee on Aquaculture” or Working Group) that would deal exclusively with aquaculture issues. The draft terms of reference, attached as Annex III (not attached to this report), would be submitted to the next RECOFI Session (Oman, May 2003) for consideration and approval should the relevant subsidiary body be established.

23. The participants agreed that this subsidiary body should meet regularly, preferably on a yearly basis and before each session of the Commission. It was noted that the establishment of an aquaculture subsidiary body would have administrative and financial implications to the RECOFI Member countries. The budget requirement for the organization of the meeting was briefly discussed, however it was agreed that this issues should be discussed as an agenda item in the next RECOFI session. It was also recognized that during the course of the subsidiary body on aquaculture, extra costs may arise from time to time, for example in the creation of ad hoc working groups and commissioning of review papers. For participating member governments and observers the additional obligations would consist mainly of provision of information and direct participation in meetings.

24. With regards to the Rules of Procedures, the subsidiary body would adopt those of the parent body, RECOFI discussed and adopted during the first Commission Session held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman from 6 to 8 October 2001.

25. The meeting also recognized that ad hocworking groups would have to be established, if necessary, to deal with specific or emerging technical issues of regional interest. A number of possible ad hocworking groups (e.g. marine fish cage farming, aquaculture laws and legislation, fish disease) were proposed. However, it was felt that such groups could be formed once a formal aquaculture subsidiary body is approved and established.

26. The aquaculture participants also discussed the importance of having the same technical experts attend successive meetings to ensure continuity and institutional development. The importance of the above was particularly felt should technical working groups be organized and established. It was noted that a chairman or facilitator would be needed to coordinate the work in the region and participants agreed that suitable nominees should be identified.

27. It was also recognised that RECOFI member countries would have to enable national experts to travel in the region in order to attend such technical meetings. Furthermore, it was recognized that the role of FAO would be limited to that of a facilitator as all main activities and decisions would be undertaken and agreed on by RECOFI members.

Recommendations

  1. RECOFI member country officers attending the next Commission session should clearly report on (1) the technical areas of expertise available in each member country and technical assistance that could be offered, and (2) areas where technical assistance is required. This exercise will enable the Member countries to outline a possible programme of activities for the aquaculture subsidiary body and identify areas where technical assistance needs to the attracted from outside the Gulf region.

  2. RECOFI Secretariat prepare a working paper for discussion at the next RECOFI session on the indicative financial requirement of the aquaculture subsidiary body that would include the preparation, processing and distribution of documentation, interpretation if needed, staff time and travel costs.


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