1. The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) held its thirtieth session from 11 to 13 August 2008, in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The session was attended by 33 participants comprising the representatives of 15 member countries of the Commission and observers from the Bay of Bengal Program Inter-Governmental Organization (BOBP-IGO), Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), the Swedish Board of Fisheries (SBF), the APFIC secretariat and officers of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). A list of the delegates and observers is appended as Appendix B.
2. At the official opening of the session, the chairperson of APFIC, Professor Widi Agoes Pratikto, Secretary-General, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, welcomed His Excellency the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, the Governor of North Sulawesi, APFIC and all participants.
3. The chairperson noted that since the twenty-ninth session of APFIC held in Malaysia in August 2006, a number of activities had been accomplished by APFIC. In particular, the chairperson mentioned the very successful second APFIC regional consultative forum meeting (RCFM) held in Manado, Indonesia from 6 to 9 August 2008. Several issues were raised during the second RCFM such as fishery management, fishing capacity reduction, product certification and combating IUU fishing. APFIC member countries had also informed the RCFM about various success stories from the APFIC region. Many of these had been supported by FAO in general and APFIC in particular. The chairperson expressed his sincere hope that APFIC would continue to assist its member countries to continue these success stories and support the development of the fisheries sector. The text of his welcome remarks is appended in Appendix D.
4. The welcome address to APFIC was made by Mr Ndiaga Gueye on behalf of Mr Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Mr Gueye expressed his gratitude to the Government of Indonesia and to His Excellency Mr Freddy Numberi, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia for hosting the thirtieth session of APFIC. Mr Gueye thanked the hosts for the excellent hospitality and asked them to convey to the Government of Indonesia, FAO's gratitude for the excellent arrangements and for hosting the thirtieth Session of APFIC in the beautiful city of Manado.
5. Mr Gueye stated that fisheries and aquaculture in Asia and the Pacific region is of great importance to millions of people, particularly because it makes a major contribution to their food security. It was noted that APFIC has a very important task during the thirtieth session, namely to consider the recommendations of the second APFIC RCFM and to deliberate, comment on and endorse the major themes for APFIC's forthcoming biennium of work. He reaffirmed FAO's commitment to APFIC and noted that APFIC was proving to be a significant policy forum for fisheries in Asia and the Pacific region. The text of his welcome remarks is appended in Appendix F.
6. The opening speech to the thirtieth session was made by His Excellency Mr Freddy Numberi, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, who, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, extended a warm welcome to all participants.
7. The minister noted that the Government of the Republic of Indonesia has a long history of cooperation with FAO as part of its commitment to support any effort to eradicate hunger and ensure food security and good nutrition through the practice of agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia and APFIC have always worked closely together in concerted efforts to promote the sustainable and responsible utilization of fisheries, aquaculture and related aquatic resources in Asia and the Pacific region. As an example, it was noted that the Republic of Indonesia, along with Australia, has initiated a regional plan of action (RPOA) to promote responsible fisheries practices including combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices. The RPOA is the first regional plan of its kind in the world and is a response to the call for states to take cooperative measures to implement the FAO International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU).
8. The minister noted that the global phenomenon of climate change demands our undivided attention as it poses a significant threat to the agricultural, forestry and fisheries commodities and production systems and to food security in Asia and the Pacific region.
9. Finally, the minister reminded the participants not to forget that the aim of the APFIC is to eradicate hunger and ensure food security and good nutrition through sustainable and responsible utilization of natural marine and fishery resources. The full statement is appended as Appendix E.