The theme of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) Regional Consultative Forum was "Reforming fisheries and aquaculture" and this reflects FAO's belief that major changes are required if we are going to realize greater benefits from the huge potential that fisheries and aquaculture offers the Asia-Pacific region.
APFIC, FAO and the member countries of the Asia-Pacific region have a common goal of better administration and management of fisheries and aquaculture and, based on global instruments and agreements, we are all trying to achieve sustainable development. It is becoming clear that we have probably reached the last frontier in terms of marine capture fishery expansion and it is also evident that aquaculture is facing severe constraints. In terms of fisheries there are very few unexploited resources left to explore. In terms of aquaculture two main constraints are the lack of land for further expansion and the limit to the global supply of aquaculture feeds.
The news is not all bad, as there is increasing will and commitment to address the mistakes of the past and there are some good examples of policy decisions in fisheries which should reduce the "boom and bust" scenarios that have beset the sector over the years. The same can be said for aquaculture, where the trend of intensification, increasing demand for improved health and safety of products, and competition for natural resources are all pushing aquaculture towards a higher degree of management.
The keynote address presented in this report raises six challenges to member countries and fisheries organizations active in the Asia-Pacific region and, as agreed in the last FAO Committee of Fisheries, this is the decade of implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF). There are now many instruments/agreements/targets and policies, but now is the time for action and APFIC can help facilitate this action.
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific