71. Australia — Australia has been very active in combating IUU fishing during the last biennium. It was noted that port state measures and the global record of fishing vessels were not reported in the previous country presentations, but that they nonetheless were important initiatives that should be supported. Australia mentioned it had been working together with its northern neighbours: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. It was highlighted that this cooperation was highly appreciated.
72. Bangladesh — There is some IUU fishing in Bangladesh. The nearshore coastal fisheries are overexploited and there is a lack of awareness about marine resources. Policy reforms have been initiated to manage marine resources better. Bangladesh is working together with BOBP-IGO on these issues and it was noted that the projects conducted within this framework were of great importance for Bangladesh. The implementation of the FAO CCRF related with IPOA and IUU fishing was mentioned. It was requested that APFIC play an active role in promoting regional cooperation in relation to IUU fishing. Certification of aquaculture and fisheries is an important issue in Bangladesh. In particular, the involvement of and the incentives for small-scale farmers and fisher folk are of concern. Certification at the post-harvest level is important for Bangladesh, both for export-oriented products and nationally-consumed commodities.
73. Cambodia — The presenter mentioned that the management of fishing capacity is of great importance for Cambodia. Fisheries are an important sector in the Cambodian economy and contribute about 14 percent of the GDP. Annual consumption of fish is 30 to 40 kg per person, which is high.
74. China — China is combating IUU fishing at both international and national levels. Gradually reducing motor power and decreasing the number of vessels are important steps to manage the Chinese fisheries. Seasonal fishing lock-out is now strongly implemented in some areas of special importance. Joint law enforcement patrols are carried out with neighbouring countries. In addition, a US-China joint fisheries law enforcement programme on the North Pacific High Sea has been implemented. Certification of aquaculture products has increased rapidly. In the early 1990s a number of national certification schemes were developed. It was noted that only a small number of fishery products are included in certification schemes because of the high costs and limited incentives for small-scale producers to participate. More work should be done to increase the incentives for small-scale producers. It was noted that the FAO guideline for aquaculture certification is a good way to standardize various aquaculture systems to facilitate the trade, provided it is done in a way that does not discriminate against certain producer groups and/or countries. In this respect, some concern about the development of private scheme standards was expressed.
75. India — India noted that there are several regulations in place to manage fishing and fisheries in India. Within the territorial waters of the exclusive province of the state they are under province regulation, whereas beyond territorial waters it is the exclusive domain of the union government. The central government regulates foreign fishing vessels, but there is no law to regulate the Indian-owned fishing vessels in the EEZ. However, the existing laws provide for prohibition of fishing by larger motorized fishing vessels in the areas earmarked for traditional and small-motorized crafts. The Indian EEZ is an open access realm for Indian nationals and only possession rights exist. There are no property rights. Implementation of MCS in small-scale fisheries presents a range of unique problems, which relate to the large number of widely dispersed fishers, mixed gear/species and landing points.
76. Indonesia — IUU fishing in Indonesia was described in its various forms, including foreign fishing vessels using the Indonesian flag illegally, fishing without a license, fishing in the waters outside of permitted fishing areas, operating prohibited fishing gears, and the transfer at sea of catches from Indonesian fishing grounds. Indonesia now has several initiatives to improve fishing capacity management, among them are: the onboard and port observer programmes; improvement of licensing (including computerization of the registry); verification of vessel ownership and flagging; and development of staff capability. MCS in cooperation with Australia in the Arafura Sea has been particularly successful and has resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of illegal vessels fishing in Indonesian waters and a 31 percent increase in shrimp trawler productivity following increased surveillance and enforcement. Good practices for onboard and landing site fish handling have been promoted. A system for the certification of manpower is under development. A national initiative for aquaculture certification has been introduced and has now certified 110 grow-out farms and 31 hatcheries. Good aquaculture practices have been promoted.
77. Malaysia — An overview of the Malaysian fishing fleet’s capacity was presented. The development of a NPOA on IUU fishing and fishing capacity has been an important step during the last biennium. In addition, the enforcement of fisheries regulation has been strengthened. Four fishing zones have been established in Malaysia. A very limited number of commercial fishing licences have been issued since 1992. A buy-back scheme to address vessels fishing within the 5 to 12 nautical miles zone has also been implemented.
78. Myanmar — Myanmar is actively trying to limit capture fisheries and increase cultured production. The fisheries and aquaculture of Myanmar have been seriously devastated by Cyclone Nargis. Policies on IUU fishing have been developed and in the future Myanmar will strongly reinforce legislation and aim at improving its implementation. It was noted that the establishment of an MCS system is of crucial importance for IUU fishing and regional sharing of information.
79. Nepal — Nepal has no real fisheries exports, however, there is unregulated import and export with neighbouring countries. It was noted that IUU fishing is not only a matter of marine waters but also inland fresh waters. Aquatic resources in Nepal are decreasing because of overfishing in some areas and because of the destruction of the aquatic system by other industries. The lack of knowledge among stakeholders is clear. There is currently no laws/bylaws for the use of aquatic resources, fisheries and aquaculture. The Aquatic Life Protection Act (1960) exists, but is not implemented effectively because of the lack of regulations approved by the Government of Nepal. These are currently in the process of being formulated for approval. Authentic data keeping and a reporting system are still to be established and implemented. In Nepal, there are some groups in rural communities who have been supported to form cooperatives for co-management. Cluster certification approaches may be useful for some small-scale farmers.
80. Pakistan — IUU fishing is being addressed through fish stock assessment and development of an exclusive fishing zone act for sustainable management of marine fisheries resources. The Maritime Security Agency has been established and all national fishing vessels have been equipped with a global positioning satellite (GPS) system. Certification is mainly focussed on mandatory requirements related to food safety where HACCP is widely used. Microbiological and chemical laboratories have earned Norwegian international accreditation in 2007 and 2008 respectively. It was noted that FAO had quickly responded to a request from Pakistan to help with modification of fishing boats so they could comply with the onboard hygiene standards of European Union markets.
81. Philippines — In terms of the management of fishing capacity there has been a change from open access to limited access. The increase in oil prices has limited fishing activities. Reduction of the fishing fleet in limited areas of up to 25 percent has been investigated, but not yet implemented. No new fishing licences have been issued. Philippines is actively participating in the RPOA on IUU fishing and has hosted the first coordination committee meeting related to this. Certification is mainly focussed on the post-harvest sector, certified laboratories, and monitoring of red tide.
82. Republic of Korea — Progress has been made on both IUU fishing (an NPOA has been developed) and certification of aquaculture and fisheries products. Regulation of fishing capacity is vital for its sustainable utilization. Recovery of fish stocks is considered a cornerstone in the management plan. Under the Fish Stock Rebuilding Plan, established in 2005, 93 species were reviewed and ten species have been targeted so far and the plan will run until 2017 when it is expected that fish stocks will have made a good recovery. An emerging challenge is how to analyse the many factors affecting fish stocks. A decommissioning programme implemented since 1994 bought back 8 500 vessels. Certification in fisheries has been investigated. There is an increasing awareness for the necessity of more research on consumers’ recognition and willingness to pay for certified seafood products.
83. Sri Lanka — The fisheries sector was the hardest hit sector by the tsunami, but has since recovered well. In 2007 the total fish production was 291 000 million tonnes. The presentation mentioned a number of fisheries statistics to underline the recovery and indicated also the increase in fishing boat numbers over pre-tsunami levels. The challenge of managing fishing capacity and IUU fishing were mentioned in this respect. Stock assessments have been carried out for shrimp, lobster, chanks and beach fisheries. Sri Lanka has developed and implemented a licensing system for better management practices in aquaculture and for different types of fishing gears.
84. Thailand — It was noted that both IUU fishing and certification of fisheries and aquaculture were important issues for Thailand. It was further noted that it was a large task to manage the fishing fleet capacity and Thailand currently had some new initiatives to reduce fishing capacity. Push nets and trawlers especially were damaging and should be regulated. Other control measures include mesh size control, use of prohibited areas, and expansion of coastal conservation zone. Regional cooperation and coordination were important measures and supported government-to-government joint ventures. Thailand has been involved actively in certification both at a national level and at an international level. A national certification scheme has been developed and Thailand is working together with Malaysia and Myanmar in developing an organic shrimp certification scheme. Tuna certification, seafood safety programmes and traceability systems were also mentioned as activities.
85. Viet Nam — An overview of the fishing fleet was given and it was reported that there have been significant actions to address IUU fishing in the last biennium. It was noted that there are some violations of Vietnamese waters by foreign vessels as well as by Vietnamese vessels themselves. Some of the fishing gears used do not conform to national laws, e.g. nearshore trawling, use of push nets, explosives and other damaging fishing techniques. Viet Nam has developed a national plan to combat IUU fishing until 2015 and underlined the need for regional information sharing on IUU fishing. The plan is to review, adjust, and amend legislation documents related to IUU fishing prevention. The use of a vessel monitoring system was mentioned as was training and capacity building of both fisheries and inspectors. In addition, increased port measures would be part of the plan to address IUU fishing activities.
86. During the discussions it was noted that climate change is an important emerging issue that will need the attention of APFIC Members and partners. Climate change has the potential to greatly influence both aquaculture farmers and fisherfolk. Several participants asked questions about what measures can be taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change. SEAFDEC noted that a meeting on climate changes and its influence on fishing communities had recently taken place and SEAFDEC would be pleased to share information available from the meeting. It was also noted that WorldFish Center had established a programme on climate change and cooperation with this new programme was welcomed.
87. It was noted that emerging challenges should include a note on the rising costs of fuel and this affected both fisheries and aquaculture. This is an emerging challenge for both APFIC and APFIC Members and partners.
88. Small-scale farmers and fisheries make a large contribution to the production of seafood products. There should also be a focus on the livelihoods and rights of fishing communities. It was noted that small-scale farmers and fishing communities would have the most difficulties in adapting to climate change since they had few alternatives.
89. It was noted that information management and use of new technologies to manage fisheries (e.g. traceability of products, development of database) was not mentioned in the meeting. It is an important task to utilize the new possibilities and opportunities that these technologies bring.
90. It was recommended that APFIC should promote South-South cooperation and use the capacities and technologies that are available in the region. It was noted that there is a real need to coordinate the efforts of all the regional organizations that share a common interest. A more frequent exchange of information using new technologies should be followed up.
91. In summing up, the chairperson noted that it cannot be assumed that joining certification schemes will increase benefits to producers, although there are clear advantages in some parts of the sector relating to market access. Improvement in other areas such as value chain improvements may be more advantageous. It was noted that Member Governments are developing schemes and these should be in accordance with the guidelines developed by FAO. The chairperson also noted the calls for simple systems that are relatively straightforward to implement and comply with, and which would be accessible to the region and small-scale producers.
92. The chairperson noted with appreciation that there was an increased openness between countries regarding IUU fishing and that country reporting to the RCFM was frank and open, which was not the case previously. Member countries have noted on several occasions that there was a great need for regional coordination and information sharing on IUU fishing. Port state measures and the FAO global vessel recording system were not mentioned in member country presentations largely because these initiatives are still relatively new. Reports on their performance will be included with the next RCFM reporting requests.