69. The secretariat introduced this item on the basis of document APFIC/08/5 summarizing the findings and recommendations of the two regional consultative workshops on "Fishing capacity management and IUU fishing" held in Phuket, Thailand, from 13 to 15 June 2007 and on "Certification schemes for capture fisheries and aquaculture" held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam from 18 to 20 September 2007. The two workshops received financial assistance from the Government of Sweden.
70. The regional consultative workshop "Fishing capacity management and IUU fishing" aimed at promoting increased awareness, understanding and action on one of the most fundamental tenets of fishing, that is ensuring that fishing efforts are commensurate with the productive capacity of the fishery resource and their sustainable utilization (FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, Article 7). The workshop endeavored to build a commitment to reducing fishing capacity across all over-fished fisheries and examine ways in which this could be achieved. The workshop was attended by a total of 41 persons from 13 member countries and six organizations (including FAO).
71. The main objective of the workshop was to examine the need to reduce fishing capacity in both large-scale and small-scale fisheries (including the costs and benefits of managing fisheries). The workshop was also asked to assess the current status in capacity reduction and control of IUU fishing and the actions being taken. An important objective was also to develop an action plan to address the issues.
72. The major outcome of the workshop was the adoption of a document on how to address the issues of IUU fishing and capacity reduction. The meeting agreed that the Southeast Asia RPOA was a useful framework for countries and regional organizations to start coordinated approaches to managing fishing capacity and IUU fishing. The workshop also agreed that it is time to take action and there is a strong mandate for this through the ministerial endorsements of the IPOA and the RPOA. The full report of the workshop can be found in APFIC/08/Inf.7.
73. The objective of the second regional consultative workshop on "Certification schemes for capture fisheries and aquaculture" was to review the costs and opportunities associated with certification schemes for fisheries and aquaculture in the APFIC region.
74. The workshop was attended by 49 participants from 13 member countries, INFOFISH, SEAFDEC, SBF, ICSF, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the World Wildlife Fund-Greater Mekong (WWF-Greater Mekong).
75. The workshop recognized that fisheries and aquaculture certification can offer tangible benefits to the APFIC member countries. However, it also recognized that a number of issues need to be taken into account and addressed for certification to effectively contribute to the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture in the region. These issues are: i) regional involvement in certification; ii) inclusion of small-scale fisheries and farmers into schemes; iii) harmonization and equivalence of certification schemes; iv) weighing the costs and benefits of certification schemes; v) governance and stakeholder involvement; and vi) capacity building at both regional and national levels. A number of specific recommendations were identified for capture fisheries and aquaculture certification. The full workshop report can be found in APFIC/08/Inf.8.
76. At the second RCFM these two themes were discussed in detail and the comments and recommendations from the second RCFM report (APFIC/08/Inf.9) on these themes were also presented by the secretariat.
77. The Commission endorsed the action plans and recommendations of the two APFIC regional consultative workshops.
78. The Commission was informed that many APFIC countries have already approved or were in the process of drafting and approving national plans of action on IUU fishing (NPOA-IUU) or similar initiatives. Three countries (Australia, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea) out of the 15 Members present already have a NPOA-IUU. Six countries (China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam) have either near final drafts or other programmes/initiatives that include specific measures to combat IUU fishing. Several other Members are planning to start this process. Several Members commented that although they had not undertaken an NPOA exercise, they had national programmes and strategies to address issues related to this.
79. The secretariat recalled that there is a place on the APFIC Web site where policy documents, including national action plans, strategic planning documents and NPOA, are collected. It was recommended that member countries send their significant policy documents to APFIC so that this work can be presented to the world showing what is being done in the region.
80. Several Members mentioned that NPOA-IUU should include socio-economic considerations and take into account the number of small-scale fishers. When dealing with IUU fishing we should not only look at the IUU fishing itself, but also the cause of the illegal fishing and work on the cause of the problems.
81. BOBP-IGO and SEAFDEC noted that their organizations are working with their respective members. BOBP-IGO noted that the organization has initiated a programme on monitoring, control and surveillance and developing national action plans for IUU fishing together with the four member countries. This work will later form the basis for a regional action plan on IUU fishing.
82. The APFIC secretary thanked Members for the feedback and noted that all member countries are moving towards a full NPOA or are having activities or programmes related to IUU fishing. The secretariat further requested that APFIC Members report to FAO on all these good national initiatives for combating IUU fishing.
83. Several examples of how to monitor and manage fisheries were given by the member countries.
84. In line with APFIC recommendations concerning fishing capacity management, several Members outlined their national activities relating to improving management of fishing capacity:
85. Recognizing that there is great diversity in fisheries within the region and that IUU fishing exists in a wide variety of forms, the Commission unanimously agreed on the following statement regarding the combating of IUU fishing:
86. Related to certification of capture fisheries and aquaculture, the Commission recognized that there are benefits from certification as a tool to improve management and improve the sector. It was noted by several member countries that the risk of excluding small-scale farmers and fisher folk from the certification schemes should be addressed by schemes and that cluster approaches were a mechanism to allow inclusion of small-scale farmers in certification initiatives.
87. It was noted that there are now several fisheries in the region that are in the process of being certified by an internationally recognized certification scheme.
88. In relation to certification of capture fisheries and aquaculture the Commission recommended that:
89. The Director-General of SBF thanked the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and APFIC for the invitation to join the thirtieth APFIC session as an observer. The Director-General gave a brief introduction to the fishing situation in the European Union (EU) and reflected that there are many similarities in the problems faced by Asian and EU fisheries, in particular the depletion of fish stocks, overfishing and how to reduce the fishing capacity. He emphasized that cooperation and the compliance with management measures by member countries were the key to the success of fisheries measures.