Hundred and twentieth Session
Rome, 18-23 June 2001
REPORT OF THE 24TH SESSION
OF THE COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES
MATTERS REQUIRING ATTENTION OF THE COUNCIL
ELECTION OF THE CHAIRPERSON AND VICE-CHAIRPERSONS AND DESIGNATION OF THE DRAFTING COMMITTEE
OPENING OF THE SESSION
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SESSION
ACHIEVEMENTS OF MAJOR PROGRAMME 2.3 FISHERIES 1998-1999
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES AND RELATED INTERNATIONAL PLANS OF ACTION
DECISIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SEVENTH SESSION OF THE COFI SUB-COMMITTEE ON FISH TRADE, BREMEN,
GERMANY, 22-25 MARCH 2000
PROPOSED COFI SUB-COMMITTEE ON AQUACULTURE
CITES CRITERIA FOR COMMERCIALLY-EXPLOITED AQUATIC SPECIES
PROPOSAL FOR IMPROVED GLOBAL REPORTING ON THE STATUS AND TRENDS OF FISHERIES
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXPERT CONSULTATION ON ECONOMIC INCENTIVES AND RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES
ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED FISHING
MEDIUM-TERM PLAN 2002-2007 112-117
DATE AND PLACE OF THE TWENTY-FIFTH SESSION
ANY OTHER MATTERS
ADOPTION OF THE REPORT
Appendix A: Agenda Appendix B: List of participants Appendix C: List of document Appendix D: Opening Statement by Mr David A. Harcharik,
Appendix E: Terms of Reference of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture Appendix F: Statement by the Delegation of Canada on IPOA-IUU Appendix G: International Plan of Action for IUU Fishing
Proposed COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture
|i)||Agreed to establish the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture with its terms of reference as recommended by the Expert Consultation on the Proposed COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, Bangkok, Thailand, 28-29 February 2000. (paras. 59, 62)|
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
|i)||Adopted by consensus the IPOA-IUU Fishing as contained in Appendix D of document COFI/2001/7 Add., as amended by the results of the informal, open-ended "Friends of the Chair" meetings and with an amendment inserted in Plenary, whilst noting reservations made by a number of countries including, Antigua and Barbuda, Canada and Japan. (paras. 99,102, 105 and 108)|
|Achievements of Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries 1998-1999|
|i)||Noted with concern the stagnation in funding for fisheries whilst there had been a substantial growth in the work and responsibilities of FAO. (para. 12)|
|ii)||Requested FAO to consider the feasibility of increasing budgetary allocation to the Fisheries Programme from its Regular Programme resources. (para.12)|
|iii)||Also noted a call from many of its Members, especially developing countries, for increased technical and financial support in the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the concern of small island developing States (SIDs) that the special programme for SIDs had not materialized due to lack of funding. (para. 15)|
|iv)||Noted further a call from countries from the Latin American and the Caribbean region to receive more equitable consideration in both the regular and field programmes and from other developing countries for increased support from FAO. (para. 16)|
|Progress Report on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and Related International Plans of Action|
|i)||Recognized the role the Code of Conduct played in promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and linkage between improved conservation and management and utilization within the fisheries sector as critical in supporting national policies for enhancing food securities and social and economic opportunities. (para. 21)|
|ii)||Noted that the implementation of the post-harvest provisions of the Code of Conduct had been relatively slow by FAO and Member countries and that FAO could play an important role in facilitating international dialogue to examine mechanisms and verification that would contribute to enhancing responsible post-harvest practices. (para. 23)|
|iii)||Urged FAO, in the course of promoting aquaculture, not to overlook those countries that historically did not practice aquaculture but which had suitable condition for its development. (para. 28)|
|iv)||Highlighted the continued need for awareness-building about the Code of Conduct. (para. 29)|
|v)||Recognized the important role of regional fisheries management organizations in the efffective implementation of the Code. (para. 30)|
|vi)||Acknowledged the usefulness of the FAO prepared guidelines to facilitate the implementation of the Code and the elaboration of such guidelines in support of the implementation of the Code at the national and regional levels. (para. 31)|
|vii)||Agreed that more in-depth analysis of problems associated with the efficient implementation of the Code be carried out in future reporting on the application of the Code and the related IPOAs. (para. 37)|
|viii)||Welcomed the opportunity offered by the Reykjavik Conference to address matters related to ecosystem-based fisheries management. (para.38)|
|ix)||Also agreed that, in conducting studies on the relationship between marine mammals and fisheries requested by its Members, FAO should take into account the impact of predator/prey relationship on fisheries as a number of environmental and human factors also contributed to the status of particular fisheries. (para. 39)|
|Decisions and recommendations on the Seventh Session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, Bremen, Germany, 22-25 March 2000|
|i)||Expressed satisfaction with the quality of the work of the Sub-Committee and the importance role played by FAO in the field of fish marketing development through information and provision of technical advice. (para. 42)|
|ii)||Acknowledged with appreciation the fruitful cooperation of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade and the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC). (para. 42)|
|iii)||Endorsed the report of the Seventh Session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade. (Para. 43)|
|iv)||Noted the serious concern of the Latin American and Caribbean countries regarding restrictions on trade and use of fishmeal for animal feed on the grounds of alleged link to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and their request for FAO to closely monitor scientific development on the subject and the safety of fishmeal in animal feeding and to report back regularly to Member countries (para. 44)|
|v)||Agreed that the above issues be discussed at the Eight Session of the Sub-Committee. (para. 44)|
|vi)||Expressed appreciation for the valuable contribution of the recently terminated FAO/DANIDA Project on Fish Quality Assurance to capacity building and improvement in seafood safety in developing countries. (para. 47)|
|vii)||Stressed the need for further training and assistance in fish quality assurance, seafood safety measures, risk analysis and the application of the relevant WTO agreements. (para. 47)|
|viii)||Requested FAO and WHO to assist developing exporting countries in finding low cost solutions in the monitoring of environmental pollution on fish safety. (para. 49)|
|ix)||Agreed that the Secretariat continue to monitor developments on issues of relevance to eco-labelling and inform Members through relevant technical publications, in order to develop criteria to guide Member countries. (para. 50)|
|x)||Agreed that the agenda for the Eighth Session of the Sub-Committee include an item on the feasibility and practicality of harmonizing catch certifcation used by some regional fishery management bodies. (para. 51)|
|xi)||Requested that FAO's policy on the use of the official languages of FAO be applied at the Sub-Committee level as is the case with its parent body. (para.52)|
Proposed COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture
|i)||Noted issues of common global concern on aquaculture development, e.g. environmental and economic implications, consumer and food safety aspects, interactions between aquaculture and capture fisheries, the role of culture-based fisheries, sea ranching, general institutional and development needs for sustainable aquaculture management. (para. 55)|
|ii)||Agreed that the terms of reference of the Sub-Committee be kept flexible and be revised as the aquaculture sector developed to ensure coverage of the needs of all Members. (para. 59)|
|iii)||Gratefully acknowledged the offers from China, Italy, Norway and the United States of America to facilitate the convening of the Sub-Committee sessions in order to help reducing the financial burden on FAO's Regular Programme budget. (paras. 58, 62)|
|iv)||Noted the request of the Observer from the Russian Federation that FAO consider the feasibility of his country becoming a member of the Sub-Committee. (para. 60)|
CITES Criteria for Commercially-exploited Aquatic Species
|i)||Agreed that the existing criteria of CITES concerning the listing and de-listing of species be based on the best possible scientific evidence and on an effective scientific evaluation process and that FAO consider establishing a process to consider the problems and potential solutions in relation to listing fishery resources under Article II. (para.68)|
|ii)||Also agreed that in the FAO process, a technical consultation be convened before November 2001 and its proposal be considered and endorsed, as appropriate, at the session of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade and that, if the agreement could not be reached, the June 2000 report of the technical consultation be sent to the CITES Secretariat as the formal FAO input to CITES review process. (paras. 70,71)|
|iii)||Agree further that the next session of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade follow up the matter under its new Agenda item entitled "Developing a work plan for exploring CITES issues with respect to international fish trade". (para. 68)|
|Proposal for Improved Global Reporting on the Status and Trends of Fisheries|
|i)||Recognized that status and trend studies were fundamental to the FAO mandate and that quality data were often wanting, especially in the multi-species and small-scale fisheries, which prevailed in many developing countries. (paras. 75,76)|
|ii)||Stressed the importance of national capacity-building, especially in developing countries, in fishery statistics through Regular Programme activities and the direct assistance of FAO. (para. 77)|
|iii)||Recommended that FAO convene a technical consultation to ascertain ways and means of improving fishery status and trends reporting, including the possible development of IPOA, and that the proposals of the consultation be presented at the Twenty-fifth Session of COFI. (para. 81)|
|Conclusions and Recommendations of the Expert Consultation on Economic Incentives and Responsible Fisheries|
|i)||Agreed to request FAO to convene a second expert consultation, recognizing that further work remained to be done, to be followed by a Government technical consultation to facilitate the timely dissemination of information to the Members and other intergovernmental organizations. (paras. 86, 89)|
|Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing|
|i)||Acknowledged the important role that FAO should play in promoting the implementation of the IPOA-IUU, particularly in the provision of technical assistance to developing countries. (para 96)|
|ii)||Recommended that the IPOA-IUU fishing and the progress achieved in implementing it be considered at the Twenty-fifth Session of COFI. (para. 111)|
|Medium-Term Plan 2002-2007|
|i)||Commended that MTP for Fisheries provided a good summary of the activities to be undertaken in relation to the strategic objective of FAO. (para. 112)|
|ii)||Recommended that the Plan ensure a correct balance among regions, among programme activities, and between normative and operational work and that the use of various instruments such as guidelines and plans of action be assessed and harmonized to ensure that the most appropriate tool was used in future initiatives. (para 113)|
|iii)||Recommended further that more resources be set aside for a number of priority areas aimed at improving global fisheries management, i.e. management of small-scale fisheries; eco-system approaches to fisheries management; trade aspects including fish quality and safety; gear selectivity and waste reduction; resources assessment and monitoring; fish disease control and health management; harvest and post-harvest on under-exploited resources such as mesopelagic stocks; and special requirements of SIDs). (para. 115)|
|iv)||Recognized the possible contribution to effective fishery resources management through closer collaboration between FAO and regional fishery bodies. (para. 117)|
|Any other matters|
|i)||Noted additional fisheries issues raised by some Members, namely, the planned Conference on Management and Sustainable Development of Fisheries in the Antarctic; a conference on mid- and deep-water fishery resources and management; the deterioration of coral reef resources; and the problems of sea turtle mortality due to accidental catch and others, including land-based and human activities may have implications on the future programme of work and budget for fisheries. (paras.119, 120, 122.124)|
1. The Committee on Fisheries held its Twenty-fourth Session in Rome from 26 February to 2 March 2001.
2. The Session was attended by 105 Members of the Committee, by observers from four other FAO Member Nations, the Holy See, and one non-Member Nation of FAO, by representatives from seven specialized agencies of the United Nations and by observers from 45 intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations. A list of delegates and observers is attached at Appendix B.
3. In the absence of Mr Mike Akyeampong (Ghana), the outgoing Chairperson of the Committee and Mr Minoru Morimoto (Japan), First Vice-Chairperson, the Session was called to order by the Secretary of the Committee on Fisheries. The delegation of Ghana read a letter on behalf of Mr Akyeampong, expressing his regret at being unable to attend the Session and conveying his best wishes for the successful conclusion of the Committee's work.
4. Mr Masayuki Komatsu (Japan) was unanimously elected Chairperson of the Committee and Ms Mara Angelica Murillo Correa (Mexico) was elected First Vice-Chairperson. Australia, Canada, Malta, Libya, and Tanzania were elected as other Vice-Chairpersons.
5. The Committee elected Mr Ashraf Sabit (Egypt) as Chairperson of the Drafting Committee with the following membership: Argentina, Canada, Eritrea, Iceland, India, Japan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Philippines, Sweden, United States of America and Uruguay.
6. The Session was addressed by Mr David A. Harcharik, FAO Deputy Director-General. The full text of his statement is attached as Appendix D.
7. The Committee noted the Declaration of Competence and Voting Rights presented by the European Community.
8. Some Members expressed concern about the absence of specific agenda proposals for the Programme of Work and Budget 2002-2003.
9. In response to the concern expressed, the Secretariat informed the Committee that the new planning framework approved by the Conference did not provide for the presentation of full budgetary data for 2002-2003 to the technical Committees. Several Members felt that the consequent lack of information diminished the capacity of the Committee to advise on programme priorities and further that the new planning framework did not prohibit a discussion of the Programme of Work.
10. The Committee adopted the Agenda and Timetable for the Session. The Agenda is given in Appendix A to this Report. The documents which were placed before the Committee are shown in Appendix C.
11. The Secretariat highlighted the achievements of Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries during the biennium 1998-1999 on the basis of documents COFI/2001/2, COFI/2001/Inf.4, 5 and 6. These achievements included the Fisheries Department contribution to the formulation of a Strategic Framework for 2001-2015 adopted by the FAO Conference and progress attained in the work of the four Fisheries Programmes, which had contributed towards global sustainable fisheries management and development. The Committee was informed about the availability of detailed supplementary information which is contained in the Programme Implementation Report 1998-1999 on FAO's web site.
12. Whilst commending FAO for the progress achieved in the implementation of the work under the Major Programme: Fisheries, the Committee noted with concern the stagnation in funding for fisheries whilst there had been a substantial growth in the areas of work and responsibilities for the Organization. It requested that the Organization consider the feasibility of increasing budgetary allocation to this important Major Programme from FAO Regular Programme resources.
13. Several Members sought a more detailed and strategic evaluation and analytical approach to the assessment of outcomes and impacts of FAO's work in fisheries. The Secretariat advised the Committee that this approach was part of the new evaluation regime and further that the Programme Committee required that evaluation reports dealing with the work of the Fisheries Programme be drawn to the attention of the Committee. The Secretariat also advised the Committee that information on the distribution of the resources in support of the Organization's fisheries programmes by region could be found in Annex I to the FAO Programme of Work and Budget which was available on the FAO web site.
14. Some Members expressed concern about a large number of unscheduled meetings that they had not been able to attend because of the lack of timely information on the meetings and also budgetary constraints.
15. Many Members, especially developing countries, called for increased technical and financial assistance in support of the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Several small island developing States (SIDS) expressed their concern that the special programme for SIDS had not materialized due to the lack of funding.
16. A call was made by Members from Latin America and the Caribbean region to receive more equitable consideration in both the regular and field programmes. The call for increased support from FAO was also made by other developing countries.
17. Several Members commended the valuable work of the recently terminated DANIDA-funded training programme on fish technology and fish quality assurance and expressed their hope that renewed funding could be identified for the continuation of the work under this programme.
18. The Committee noted with appreciation that FAO had strengthened its collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other relevant agencies in the UN system to increase the safety of fishers working at sea.
19. Some Members urged FAO to review and analyse the global status regarding tuna stocks and tuna fisheries, in particular large-scale purse seine and long-line fisheries without duplicating the work of the regional fisheries organizations.
20. The Secretariat introduced document COFI/2001/3 outlining the activities undertaken by FAO to support the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the International Plans of Action (IPOAs). The introduction also addressed the activities and applications undertaken at the national level, the initiatives by regional fisheries management organizations, and actions by international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In the introduction the Secretariat noted that progress was being made in the implementation of the Code of Conduct but on the information available to FAO it was difficult to draw firm conclusions as to how successful countries had been in implementing the Code of Conduct. In discussion of the item Members were encouraged to highlight difficulties they were encountering in implementing the Code of Conduct and the IPOAs.
21. The Committee acknowledged the role played by the Code of Conduct in promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. The linkage between improved conservation and management and utilization within the fisheries sector was also recognized as critical in supporting national policies directed towards enhanced food security and the creation and maintenance of social and economic opportunities.
22. Many Members described their experiences in implementing the Code of Conduct and the IPOAs and indicated that it would be highly beneficial if information about these experiences were shared, especially for countries that had not yet started to implement the IPOAs. Members stressed the importance of the involvement of stakeholders in the implementation process and that industry, in particular, could play a leading and prominent role. In small-scale fisheries, a broad-based participatory approach involving fishing communities was indispensable in achieving sustainable outcomes in fisheries and aquaculture.
23. The Committee noted that the implementation of the post-harvest provisions of the Code of Conduct had been relatively slow by FAO and Member countries. It further noted that FAO could play an important role in facilitating international dialogue to examine mechanisms such as information exchange and verification that would contribute to enhancing responsible post-harvest practices.
24. Many Members stated that the provisions of the Code of Conduct formed the basis for policy development and the revision of national fisheries legislation. In most cases this action was in recognition of the importance of responsible fisheries and aquaculture to sustainable development. Some Members expressed their desire to use such policy initiatives to promote a culture of responsible fisheries.
25. With regard to the implementation of the IPOA-Capacity, general appreciation was expressed of the actions of those Members who effectively implemented the IPOA-Capacity.
26. Other Members reported on the methodological challenges and lessons learned in carrying out an assessment of their fishing capacity.
27. The Committee noted that one Member, in cooperation with others, promoted responsible tuna fisheries through the purchase and scrapping of large-scale "flag-of-convenience" tuna longline vessels in the world in accordance with the requirement stipulated in the IPOA.
28. The Committee noted the growing importance of aquaculture development in many countries. Some Members indicated that aquaculture production was assuming a role of increasing importance and that its development should be pursued within a responsible framework. In promoting aquaculture, FAO was urged not to overlook those countries that historically did not practice aquaculture but which had suitable conditions for its development.
29. FAO was commended for the manner in which it was continuing to promote the implementation of the Code of Conduct and to disseminate information about it. However, some Members noted the need to reach all fishing communities in a more effective manner. In this connection, Members highlighted the continued need for awareness-building about the Code, including regional and national workshops, as appropriate, and the preparation of promotional materials. Some countries mentioned the awareness raising role played by NGOs and other groups in fostering an understanding of the Code in fishing communities.
30. Several Members indicated the important role of regional fisheries management organizations in the effective implementation of the Code of Conduct. In this context some Members strongly requested the extension of certain regional projects such as COPEMED and the Dr Fridtjof Nansen programme that had contributed effectively to the application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Northwest and South-West African regions.
31. Members commented that the guidelines prepared by FAO in support of the application of the Code of Conduct were important aids in facilitating its implementation. The Committee took note that regional and national guidelines in support of implementation had also been elaborated. Some developing Member countries drew attention to the need to ensure that the FAO guidelines addressed developing country issues since these countries were intended as the primary recipients of such guidelines.
32. The Committee recognized that institutional strengthening and capacity-building in developing countries was of high priority if the Code of Conduct and the IPOAs were to be implemented effectively and in a timely manner. The Committee noted the offer of some Members to share experience in the implementation of the Code and its related IPOAs with other Members. It also noted the special needs of small island developing States (SIDS) in their efforts to meet their responsibilities with respect to implementation.
33. Some Members referred to the World Bank's initiative in fisheries, including the Forum for Sustainable Fisheries (FSF), which in cooperation with FAO could provide a mechanism to assist developing countries in strengthening their capacity in responsible fisheries management and called upon Members to encourage the World Bank to continue its collaboration with FAO on this important issue. Other Members called on FAO to provide the technical guidance and capacity strengthening through its field programmes, independent of initiatives by other organizations.
34. Many Members from developing countries referred to the constraint of a lack of financial and technical resources to support the implementation of the Code and the IPOAs. While noting that valuable technical assistance was already being provided by some donors and FAO, many Members called upon the international donor community and FAO, as provided for in Article 5 of the Code, to strengthen existing partnerships and to continue to provide the necessary technical assistance to overcome the technical and financial constraints identified.
35. Several Members highlighted support received from FAO Trust Fund Projects especially those listed in Annex 2 of document COFI/2001/3 and expressed the hope that such assistance would continue and increase.
36. Several Members considered that the use of access rights in fisheries management was useful for improved management efficiency and the control of fishing capacity. The Committee agreed that the characteristics of artisanal, multi-species and small-scale fisheries should be especially recognized while developing an approach to this issue. In this regard some Members requested FAO to follow up on the outcome of the Conference on the Use of Property Rights in Fisheries Management, held in Fremantle, Australia, in 1999.
37. The Committee agreed that in future reporting on the application of the Code and the related IPOAs, more in-depth analysis of problems associated with its efficient implementation should be carried out on the basis of appropriate case studies and ensuring adequate regional coverage.
38. The Government of Iceland made a presentation to the Committee on the Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem which was scheduled to take place in Reykjavik, Iceland, from 1 to 4 October 2001. The Conference was being organized jointly by the Government of Iceland and FAO with co-sponsorship by the Government of Norway. Iceland noted that the objectives of the Conference were linked clearly to Article 6.4 of the Code of Conduct. The main objectives of the Conference were to:
The Reykjavik Conference was open to all FAO Members and information concerning the Conference was available on a web site: www.refisheries2001.org. The Committee welcomed the opportunity offered by the Reykjavik Conference to address matters related to ecosystem-based fisheries management.
39. Many Members requested FAO to conduct studies on the relationship between marine mammals and fisheries. Other Members, however, commented on the issues and complexity of ecosystem-based fisheries management, urging that caution be exercised in drawing definitive conclusions with respect to the impact of predator/prey relationships on fisheries as a number of environmental and human factors also contributed to the status of particular fisheries. The Committee agreed that such studies and reviews by FAO should be conducted to encompass these characteristics in particular interaction between marine mammals and fisheries.
40. While discussing matters relating the implementation of the Code of Conduct some delegates brought to the attention of the Committee several issues including eco-labelling subsidies and coral reefs. It was agreed to discuss these issues under the relevant Agenda items.
41. The item was introduced by the Secretariat and Ms Jane Willing, the Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, and discussed on the basis of documents COFI/2001/4 and COFI/2001/Inf.7. The second draft of the Technical Guidelines for Articles 11.2 and 11.3 of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries had also been made available to delegates.
42. The Committee expressed its satisfaction with the quality of the work of the Sub-Committee and the important role played by FAO in the field of fish marketing development through information and provision of technical advice. Specifically the benefits that countries derived from the services as members of the Fish Info Network were highlighted. In particular, the fruitful cooperation of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade with the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) was acknowledged with appreciation. There were several examples mentioned where the support of the CFC could be highly desirable.
43. The Committee endorsed the report of the Seventh Session of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade and provided a number of pertinent observations.
44. The Latin American and Caribbean countries expressed serious concern regarding restrictions on trade and use of fishmeal for animal feed on the grounds of alleged link to the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). They likewise called upon FAO to closely monitor scientific development on this subject and the safety of fishmeal in animal feeding and to report back regularly to Member countries on this matter. They also noted that they did not consider trade bans in this connection to be justified. It was agreed that the subject should be placed on the agenda of the Eighth Session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade.
45. Many Members expressed their concern about the restrictions being imposed on trade in fish products through various discriminatory tariffs and non-tariff barriers.
46. Several Members noted that the second draft of the Technical Guidelines for Articles 11.2 and 11.3 of the Code of Conduct constituted a considerable improvement over the first version, and the Secretariat was encouraged to work further on them with due cooperation from its Members, taking into account the work carried out by other international organizations with relevant experience, such as Codex Alimentarius (CODEX), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
47. Several Members expressed appreciation for the valuable contribution of the FAO/DANIDA project on Fish Quality Assurance to capacity building and improvement in seafood safety in many developing countries. In this regard the need for further training and assistance in the field of quality control and seafood safety measures, risk analysis, and the application of the relevant WTO agreements was stressed both in relation to the positive contribution of developing countries to international fish trade as well as consumer protection in national markets. Some Members expressed their willingness to support such efforts.
48. Appreciation was expressed to FAO for strengthening the INFOFISH network and in particular the reactivation of INFOSAMAK and the relocation of its headquarters to Morocco. Some Members informed the Committee on their recent signing of the EUROFISH agreement and urged other States also to sign the Agreement to establish the organization.
49. The high costs of monitoring the impact of environmental pollution on fish safety were mentioned as a specific burden for developing exporting countries. FAO and WHO were asked to assist in finding low cost solutions of handling such issues.
50. The Committee was informed of eco-labelling schemes in some countries, such as in the Nordic countries and Japan. An exchange of views on eco-labelling showed it was recognized as a growing and important issue that might lead to serious concerns among the parties involved. Some Members expressed their deep concern that a private initiative such as this could become an additional barrier to trade especially if it were not based on scientific and objective criteria. However, there were diverse views on this matter and no mandate was given for convening a second technical consultation. The Committee agreed that the Secretariat should continue to monitor developments in this field and inform the membership through relevant technical publications, in order to develop criteria to guide Member countries.
51. It was agreed that the agenda for the Eighth Session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade should also include an item on the feasibility and practicality of harmonizing catch certification used by some regional fishery management bodies. It was pointed out that with the aim to prepare suitable recommendations to the Sub-Committee this issue should be considered by an expert consultation in conjunction with the regional fishery bodies concerned and taking into account the objectives of these certification schemes. Some Members expressed the view that when any recommendation was developed, it should not result in greater costs for countries or their industries.
52. Many Members requested that FAO's policy on the use of the official languages of FAO should be applied at the Sub-Committee level as is the case with its parent body.
53. The Committee expressed its appreciation for the generosity of the Hanseatic City of Bremen in hosting the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade and welcomed the offer to host the next Session of the Sub-Committee.
54. This agenda item was introduced by the Secretariat with additional clarification by the Chairman of the Expert Consultation on the proposed COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, and discussed on the basis of document COFI/2001/5. The Committee also had access to COFI/2001/Inf.8 (Report of the FAO Expert Consultation on the Proposed Sub-Committee which includes the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy on Aquaculture Development beyond 2000). The Committee noted past discussions concerning the establishment of the Sub-Committee and appreciated the recent work by the Secretariat in organizing and convening the Expert Consultation.
55. There was recognition of the increasingly important role that aquaculture was playing in global fish production, and food security by providing opportunities for economic development in Member States. Many Members noted the proactive role FAO had to play in responsible aquaculture development in collaboration with other centres of excellence. The Committee raised issues of common global concern on aquaculture development, such as environmental and economic implications, consumer and food safety aspects, interactions between aquaculture and capture fisheries, the role of culture-based fisheries, sea ranching, general institutional and development needs for sustainable aquaculture management.
56. With regard to the establishment of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, discussions focused on the financial implications, terms of reference, issues to be addressed and areas of future work.
57. Concerning the financial implications, many Members stressed the necessity and urgency of establishing the Sub-Committee. They indicated that funding should preferably come from FAO's Regular Programme and urged that the Fisheries Department should be given a "real growth" budget allocation in the next biennium. Several Members expressed the view that the funding for the Sub-Committee from the Regular Programme budget should not be at the expense of other programmes of the Fisheries Department.
58. In order to reduce the financial burden on FAO's Regular Programme budget, China, Italy, Norway, and the United States of America made offers of financial assistance. The delegation of China offered to host the First Session of the Sub-Committee in conjunction with the meeting of the World Aquaculture Society and an international aquaculture exhibition in Beijing in April 2002, and opted to cover some of the local costs. The delegation of Norway offered support for the Second Session in Norway, also in conjunction with an international exhibition on aquaculture in August, 2003. Norway's support would include covering some net additional costs to the Secretariat (provision of technical secretariat, documentation, etc.), direct meeting costs (interpretation and translation, meeting facilities, etc.) and support for participation of some delegates from developing countries. The delegation of the United States of America offered to consult with the aquaculture industry with a view to hosting a subsequent session of the Sub-Committee and the delegation of Italy indicated that it would join international efforts to provide additional funding for the Sub-Committee. China acknowledged the offer of other Members to host subsequent meetings of the Sub-Committee and noted that the holding of the Sub-Committee's sessions in different countries would permit delegations to observe and share experiences from other areas.
59. There was general agreement on the terms of reference as outlined in document COFI/2001/5. However, there might be a need to clarify them further in the light of the development of the Sub-Committee. In order to ensure coverage of the needs of all Members it was recommended that the terms of reference should be kept flexible and should be revised as the aquaculture sector developed. The terms of reference for the Sub-Committee are given in Appendix E.
60. Several Members emphasized that the Sub-Committee should complement the work of regional fishery bodies, minimize duplication of effort and thus maximize resources. The observer from the Russian Federation requested FAO to consider the feasibility of his country becoming a member of the Sub-Committee.
61. The Committee unanimously agreed with the recommendation of the Expert Consultation that the priority areas to be addressed by the Sub-Committee should include aquaculture development, statistics, implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, environmental aspects of aquaculture development, regional cooperation, aquaculture management, aquaculture and coastal zone management, and national and regional aquaculture capacity building. Some Members stressed the importance of the Sub-Committee in analysing issues pertaining to safe aquaculture and technological development for cultivation of species.
62. The Committee agreed to establish the Sub-Committee, and gratefully acknowledged the offers from China, Norway, the United States of America and Italy to facilitate the convening of the sessions.
63. The Secretariat in introducing this item on the basis of document COFI/2001/6 highlighted the purpose of CITES and differences between the three Appendixes. The attention of the Committee was drawn to the particular relevance of Appendix II to species exploited by commercial fisheries and to the uncertainty surrounding the intention of listing on this Appendix: whether it was intended only to reduce the risk of species extinction or also for the promotion of sustainable use. Attention was also drawn to the outcomes of the Technical Consultation on the Suitablility of the CITES Criteria for Listing Commercially-exploited Aquatic Species (Rome, June 2000) (document COFI/2001/Inf.9) for its consideration. The Secretariat requested guidance from the Committee on whether further action would be required by FAO, and whether opinions and recommendations should be passed on to CITES, bearing in mind the timetable for CITES own criteria review process, which would require input from FAO by November 2001.
64. Members expressed appreciation for the work carried out to date by the FAO Secretariat and by the Technical Consultation. The good cooperation that had been established between the FAO and CITES Secretariats was also acknowledged.
65. There was widespread support for the conclusions and recommendations of the June 2000 Technical Consultation, encompassing those dealing with both the criteria and the process. Several Members stated that the CITES criteria as applied to commercially-exploited aquatic species should be consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other subsidiary instruments such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
66. Many Members remarked that the existing criteria required further analysis and refinement and that FAO had an important role to play in this process through ensuring that CITES had access to the best technical advice available and that the criteria took into account the relevant life history and taxonomic characteristics of each case. There was also general agreement that decisions concerning listing and de-listing of species should be based on the best possible scientific evidence and an effective scientific evaluation process.
67. There was considerable debate about the intention of listing on Appendix II. A number of Members expressed their concern about the possibility of CITES being seen as a replacement for fisheries management, stating that this had not been intended when CITES was established and that CITES was not equipped for this purpose. A number of delegates indicated that CITES should only have a complementary role in this matter. Several Members expressed the opinion that Appendix II had a role to play but only for species that might become threatened with extinction and only when they have not been subject to trade regulation by relevant regional fisheries management organizations. Concern was also expressed about the inability of CITES to respond rapidly in terms of listing and, particularly, de-listing in response to changes in the status of species. This was a particular problem for fishery resources which tended to experience rapid and substantial natural changes in abundance. Many Members indicated that good fisheries management was the primary responsibility of the national, regional or international fisheries management organizations within its mandated area. Some Members acknowledged that CITES had an important role to play in the conservation of flora and fauna but that this should not be compromised by using it without the benefit of relevant technical expertise to be provided by FAO in the case of commonly traded marine species.
68. The Committee endorsed the recommendations of the Technical Consultation that FAO should establish a process to consider the problems and potential solutions in relation to listing fishery resources under Article II, including the implications of the "look alike" provision (paragraph 2(b)), introductions from the sea, and the precautionary approach (Annex 4 of CITES resolution 9.24). It agreed that the follow up on these matters should be dealt with by the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade under the title "Developing a workplan for exploring CITES issues with respect to international fish trade".
69. There was general support for FAO continuing to facilitate communication amongst its Members, regional fishery bodies and CITES. There was general agreement that countries must improve internal communication between those agencies responsible for fisheries matters and those responsible for CITES matters in connection with listing and de-listing commercially-exploited aquatic resources.
70. The Committee agreed on the following process regarding FAO input to CITES on the listing criteria, subject to the availability of extra-budgetary funds to cover the costs. It was designed to meet the requirements of the CITES timetable while still allowing time for FAO members to participate as fully as possible in the process.
71. The Committee agreed that if the Technical Consultation could not be arranged for financial or technical reasons or because agreement could not be achieved at the Technical Consultation, the report of the Technical Consultation of June 2000 would be sent to CITES as the formal FAO input to their review process.
72. Some Members highlighted the need for the development of procedure for closer cooperation between FAO and the CITES Secretariat.
73. The Secretariat and the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR) introduced document COFI/2001/8 which contained an Annex entitled "Draft International Plan of Action for Status and Trends Reporting on Fisheries" and highlighted the process through which the proposal had been elaborated.
74. The Committee was invited to discuss the proposed approach to improve the information available globally on status and trends of fisheries and consider whether an international plan of action would be an effective means in this regard.
75. The Committee unanimously recognized that status and trend studies were fundamental to the FAO mandate and also recognized the leading role of FAO in bringing about improvements to fishery data and information on status and trends of fisheries and fishery resources. It agreed that reporting on fishery status and trends had shortcomings which required attention.
76. It was noted that basic data of good quality were often lacking at the national level and that particular attention needed to be directed to multi-species fisheries and small-scale fisheries which prevailed in many tropical developing countries.
77. Recognizing that reliable fishery statistical data collection was a national responsibility and that adequate financial and other resources were often lacking for methodologically-sound statistical activities, some Members stated that an international plan of action might serve as a possible framework for the donor community to help countries in need. In this regard many Members stressed the importance of national capacity-building, especially in developing countries, in fishery statistics through Regular Programme activities and the direct assistance of FAO.
78. Some Members commended FAO on its development of an improved fishery information system, partially funded from extra-budgetary sources, and based on advanced technological tools for the international community.
79. Many Members supported the development of an IPOA and some stated that the draft IPOA presented in Annex 1 of document COFI/2001/8 represented a realistic approach. Some Members, however, did not agree that an IPOA was the best instrument at this moment to achieve long-term goals and flexibility, and that alternative approaches be sought. Some Members and observers stated that improvements to trend studies might come from a better networking between FAO and regional fishery bodies.
80. Noting the significant contribution of aquaculture to world fish production and the recommendations by the Committee for the establishment of a COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, one delegation expressed concern that the draft IPOA presented in Annex 1 of the document did not include aquaculture.
81. The Committee emphasized the need for all States to have an opportunity to shape any future initiative in relation to status and trends reporting on fisheries, as well as in the drafting of the IPOA, if there were agreement to do this. To this effect the Committee recommended that a technical consultation be called by FAO to consider how fishery status and trends reporting could be improved effectively, including the possible development of an IPOA. The technical consultation should consider data and information collection and analysis and needs at the national, regional and global levels. Particular attention should be given to the needs of developing countries for capacity building. The proposals elaborated by the technical consultation should be presented to the Committee at its Twenty-fifth Session.
82. The Secretariat introduced the Agenda item on the basis of document COFI/2001/9. Attention was drawn to the conclusions and recommendations of the Report of the Expert Consultation on Economic Incentives and Responsible Fisheries (document FIPP/R638) that was held in Rome (28 November-1 December 2000) and to the papers presented (document FIPP/R638 Suppl.). Guidance was sought from the Committee on how the work of assessing the impacts of subsidies should be continued and what partnerships might be appropriate in the process.
83. The Committee appreciated the work undertaken by the Secretariat and noted the Report of the Expert Consultation as well as the conclusions and recommendations contained therein. Some Members felt that the Expert Consultation had raised more questions than answers. It noted, however, that further work remained to be done on this subject, particularly on matters relating to technical information regarding the nature of subsidies and their effects.
84. Some Members expressed concern over the use of subsidies in fisheries and that further work on the effects of such subsidies is an important issue that should be given priority by FAO.
85. The Committee agreed that future work on subsidies should build on past efforts and work towards determining the quantitative and qualitative effects of subsidies on trade in fish and fishery products and sustainability of fishery resources where the study of the trade aspect should be of a technical nature and be closely coordinated with the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the competent body for trade discipline. It was further agreed that work on this topic be closely coordinated with, and complementary to, the work being carried out by other relevant intergovernmental organizations and recommended that FAO, as a global multi-disciplinary organization, should take a lead role in the promotion of such cooperation and in the coordination of work on fisheries subsidies and the relationship with responsible fisheries.
86. The Committee agreed that a second Expert Consultation be organized by FAO but that substantial preparatory work, including an inventory of currently available and ongoing efforts, should first be carried out by the Secretariat. The Committee urged that the Consultation be comprised of a wider range of experts, having relevant practical and multidisciplinary experience in fisheries management and trade issues. In addition it should reflect a regional and topical balance of the issues to be considered. It was agreed that governments should be consulted in the selection of the experts.
87. Some Members emphasized the necessity to take into account the needs and conditions of developing countries and, in particular, the issues relating to differences between large- and small-scale or artisanal fisheries. Some Members also emphasized that, with respect to the matter of subsidies and trade, the Consultation should focus on the technical aspects of the policy debate.
88. The Secretariat informed the Committee that the resources required for holding the second Expert Consultation were not available in the current budget. Resources might be available in the 2002-2003 budget but the Secretariat would not know until November 2001, hence the Secretariat suggested that extra-budgetary funds might be needed for the purpose of a second Expert Consultation.
89. It was agreed that the Expert Consultation be followed by a Government Technical Consultation on the issue, in part as a means of quickly disseminating information on the matter both to Members and to other intergovernmental organizations.
90. As a complementary activity to address the fishery subsidy issue, one Member suggested that it would be useful to initiate meetings to study all factors affecting sustainability. While many Members agreed in principle with the proposal and it was also supported by some Members, it was generally felt that such efforts would duplicate much of the work already underway.
91. In introducing the item, the Chair provided the Committee with a synopsis of the events leading to the elaboration of the draft IPOA-IUU. In so doing, he referred to document COFI/2001/7, COFI/2001/7 Add. and COFI/2001/Inf.10. The Chair also introduced revisions for the text of the draft IPOA-IUU as contained in COFI/2001/7 Add., which resulted from consultations within the informal open-ended "Friends of the Chair" meetings.
92. The Secretariat noted that the idea of development of an IPOA to address IUU fishing was first proposed at the Twenty-third Session of COFI in 1999. The matter was endorsed by a 1999 Fisheries Ministerial Meeting shortly after that Session of COFI. Since then, to address the issue, an Expert Consultation was convened by Australia in cooperation with FAO in May 2000. This meeting was followed by two Technical Consultations at FAO Headquarters in October 2000 and February 2001, respectively. Appendix D to document COFI/2001/7 Add. contained the draft IPOA-IUU as adopted by the Second Technical Consultation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing on 23 February 2001.
93. The Committee expressed its sincere appreciation to Mr Andrew Jackson of the United Kingdom, Chair of the Technical Consultations on IUU Fishing, for his efforts in guiding the Technical Consultation to the successful completion of its work. The Committee also expressed its appreciation to Mr David Balton of the United States of America, Chair of the informal, open-ended "Friends of the Chair" meetings, for his efforts in resolving outstanding concerns of some Members with respect to the draft IPOA-IUU.
94. All Members supported the adoption of the draft IPOA-IUU while recognizing the important need to address IUU fishing in a broad and comprehensive manner. It was noted that the draft IPOA before the Committee was a compromise document concluded within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The Committee further recognized that concerted efforts on the part of all Members would be required to implement the IPOA.
95. Many Members from developing countries expressed their support for the adoption of the draft IPOA-IUU, but also expressed their concern that they would encounter serious constraints in implementing the IPOA if assistance from FAO and the international donor community was not forthcoming.
96. The Committee acknowledged the important role that FAO should play in promoting the implementation of the IPOA-IUU, particularly in the provision of technical assistance to developing countries. Some Members pointed out that funds would be required to facilitate implementation of the IPOA and it was proposed that FAO consider providing Regular Programme funds for this purpose and seek extra-budgetary funding, as appropriate.
97. The recommendations of the Joint FAO/IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Related Matters, which met at FAO Headquarters, Rome, in October 2000, were noted by the Committee. It was agreed that FAO should continue to cooperate with IMO, as appropriate, on these issues.
98. The delegation of the European Community stated that the text of the IPOA-IUU could have been stronger to stress States' responsibilities. The European Community considered that the IPOA had been formulated for political reasons and as an international commitment to combat IUU fishing. The European Community recorded its concern that the definition of IUU fishing in paragraph 3 of the IPOA-IUU is not entirely appropriate, but could be accepted in the interest of supporting adoption of the IPOA with the understanding that the European Community would not recognize this definition as having any force other than in the context of the IPOA-IUU. The delegation of the European Community also stated that the IPOA is not a legal text but a political text. Canada supported the points raised by the European Community.
99. The delegation of Antigua and Barbuda advised the Committee that it operated an open-register for vessels and while it had some concerns about the text of the IPOA-IUU, it nonetheless supported its adoption. The delegation of Antigua and Barbuda further advised the Committee that it had reservations on paragraphs 27, 38 and 39 of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001.
100. The delegation of Indonesia supported the adoption of the IPOA-IUU and noted the problems of IUU fishing within its EEZ. The delegation of Indonesia advised the Committee that its reservation placed on paragraph 21 of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001 had been lifted. Indonesia while reiterating that the developing countries should be supported and assisted by FAO and donor countries in the development and implementation of their national action plans, also urged that the implementation of the IPOA, especially with regard to port State measures and market-related measures, be applied in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.
101. The delegation of the Philippines supported the IPOA-IUU and suggested that in paragraph 76, more positive language should be used in its directive to FAO and lending institutions for training and capacity building. Specifically, the delegation of Philippines preferred the substitution of the word "consider" in the third line of paragraph 76 with the word "shall".
102. The delegation of Japan stated that it supported the adoption of the IPOA-IUU. The delegation of Japan also advised the Committee that it had reservations on paragraphs 45 and 69bis of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001.
103. The delegation of Mexico noted that the IPOA-IUU, which is a voluntary instrument, offered a range of alternative tools to combat IUU fishing but this did not imply that States were obligated to use all of them, as it was the sovereign right of each State to decide which tools might be used. In this connection, the adoption of the IPOA-IUU does not affect, nor should it be understood as affecting, the rights and obligations of States, in accordance with international law, and neither prejudice the position of States in other international fora.
104. The delegation of Norway stated that Norway reserved its right to exercise stronger measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing than was reflected in the IPOA-IUU.
105. The delegation of Canada reaffirmed that it was highly supportive of the goal of the draft IPOA. The delegation explained the policy rationale for maintaining reservations over paragraphs 20.10 and 70.7bis of the draft IPOA-IUU of 23 February 2001 and paragraphs from 53bis to 66 relating to Internationally Agreed Market Related Measures. The full text of the intervention of the delegation of Canada is given in Appendix F. Canada made the following reservations:
"The IPOA on IUU fishing was developed for the purpose of addressing the same issues than those addressed by global instruments developed by the international community, in particular the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its 1995 Implementation Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. The objective of the IUU initiative was to develop a comprehensive, effective and transparent toolbox of measures that States could use to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. Canada feels that this objective was not fully achieved with the current draft text of the IPOA. Moreover, an important `state of the art' tool was left out of the text which Canada believes should have been expressly included."
"Canada considers that the international community has accepted that boarding and inspection regimes should include requirements for fishing vessels to permit access by duly authorized inspectors from regional fisheries management organizations or states other than the flag state. Canada accepts that Members consider that the IPOA includes such measure. Canada considers, however, that such measure should have been set out explicitly in order to meet the objectives set out in the IPOA and, more generally, promote good fisheries conservation and management practices."
"For these reasons, Canada feels it must put a reservation on paragraphs 20.10 and 70.7bis of the draft IPOA on IUU fishing."
"Canada reserves its position with respect to the section of the draft International Plan of Action on IUU fishing titled "Internationally Agreed Market-Related Measures" (paragraphs 53(bis) to 66). Canada recognizes the right of states, consistent with the Marrakech Agreement establishing the WTO, to adopt or enforce measures relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources. Canada does not, at this time, endorse as an automatic policy, an undertaking to apply sanctions with respect to trade in fish and fish products in cases of IUU fishing with respect to all regional fisheries management organizations. Rather, states should decide on the use of trade measures on a case-by- case basis, having due regard to the specific circumstances."
106. The delegation of Canada formally requested that the text of its reservations be included in the IPOA-IUU as an Annex, as well as in the report of the Session. On this basis, Canada withdrew its general reservation on the draft IPOA-IUU, and invited the Chair to move for the adoption of the draft IPOA-IUU contained in COFI/2001/7 Add. Without further discussion, the Chair stated that the reservation of the delegation of Canada, like those of other delegations, would be faithfully reflected in the report of the Session.
107. The delegation of Chile, while supporting the adoption of the IPOA-IUU, reminded the meeting that important efforts were being developed to combat IUU fishing. In this regard, Chile, Australia, Peru, United States of America and the European Community were working together to create an international information network on monitoring, control and surveillance against IUU fishing. This work resulted from an international conference on monitoring, control and surveillance, that was held in Santiago, Chile, in January 2000.
108. The Committee adopted, by consensus, the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, as contained in Appendix D of COFI/2001/7 Add., and as modified by the results of the informal, open-ended "Friends of the Chair" meetings and with an amendment inserted in Plenary. The Committee urged all Members to take the necessary steps to effectively implement the IPOA-IUU. The IPOA-IUU is given in Appendix G.
109. The delegation of Argentina expressed its concern about the present situation of over-exploitation of fishery resources in the adjacent area to its EEZ. The delegation of Argentina informed the Committee that 300 squid jiggers were operating between 201 and 215 nautical miles from Argentina's coast. In view of the large number of vessels and their presumed catches, Argentina was concerned that such fishing would have a negative and direct impact on the resources of Argentina's EEZ. The delegation of Argentina recalled its country's primary interest as a Coastal State in the conservation of fishery resources in the adjacent area to its EEZ. While Argentina had no intention to exercise jurisdiction beyond its EEZ, Argentina called upon all States with vessels fishing in the area to implement the guidelines of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries relating to those operations. Moreover, Argentina called upon countries whose fishing vessels operated in the adjacent area to its EEZ to cooperate with the conservation goals that Argentina had in place and to ensure compatible behaviour with those goals. The delegation of Argentina expressed its satisfaction with the adoption of the IPOA to combat IUU fishing and invited all Members to take steps to implement it. Furthermore, the delegation of Argentina made the following declaration:
"The Argentine Republic interprets that the term "entities" contained in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and in the International Plans of Action adopted within its framework, including the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing just adopted, refers to the entities referred to in article 305 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea."
110. The Secretariat was requested to disseminate widely the IPOA and to transmit it to Members, regional fisheries management organizations, relevant intergovernmental organizations and NGOs.
111. Given the international importance of IUU fishing and the need to address it, the Members agreed that the issue and the IPOA-IUU be further considered at the Twenty-fifth Session of COFI. Of particular interest to Members at the next Session of COFI would be the progress achieved in implementing the IPOA-IUU.
112. The Committee reviewed this item on the basis of document COFI/2001/10 and a table indicating the Medium-Term Plan Resources for the Fisheries Programme provided for its consideration by the Secretariat. It welcomed the Medium-Term Plan for Fisheries and identified the expected results of the programme. Furthermore, the Plan provided a good summary of the activities to be undertaken in relation to the strategic objectives of FAO. Many Members recommended that biennial data on budget proposals be made available in conjunction with the Medium-Term Plan so as to assist the Committee in its provision of constructive advice on programme priorities.
113. The Committee reviewed a number of areas where changes or improvements in the orientation of work planned could enhance the utility of the Medium-Term Plan. Several Members expressed serious concerns about the lack of balance among regions in resource allocation and stressed the need for increased allocations to developing countries for policy and technical assistance. The Committee therefore recommended that in future the programme should ensure a correct balance among regions, among programme activities and between normative and operational work, taking into account the above stated concerns of developing countries, as well as the many demands for normative work. It also recommended that the use of various instruments such as guidelines and plans of action be assessed and harmonized to ensure that the most appropriate tool was used in future initiatives. Finally, decisions to establish long-term activities should not be based only on commitments for the short-term development phases of the work proposed.
114. In its review of the Plan, the Committee pointed to several areas which it felt should continue to receive priority attention, in particular, work on the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the International Plans of Action. The Committee noted with satisfaction the emphasis placed on activities of the Fisheries Department contributing to the Organization's strategies B, C and E and encouraged their continuation. Many Members underlined its support for activities in the area of institutional capacity building in developing countries and many Members called for increased support to be given to such activities. The Committee recalled its approval to establish a sub-committee on aquaculture, noting that this formed part of its larger commitment to ensure continued, balanced work in support of aquaculture and highlighted the need for additional resources in this connection.
115. The Committee underscored FAO's comparative advantage in fisheries and, in this respect, reiterated its strong demand that a higher share of FAO budget be allocated to the Fisheries Programme. It also discussed a number of areas where it felt additional resources could be productively employed. In addition to an increased emphasis on work which the Committee considered a long-term commitment such as the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the IPOAs, it concluded that more resources should be set aside for several specific areas in relation to the general aim of promoting improvements in global fisheries management. The areas referred to by many Members include the management of small-scale fisheries; the development of ecosystem approaches to fisheries management; trade aspects including fish quality and safety considerations; fishing gear selectivity and waste reduction; resources assessment and monitoring; fish disease control and management and harvest and post-harvest of under-exploited resources such as mesopelagic stocks; as well as the special requirements of the small island developing States (SIDS).
116. Some Members commented that often a number of agencies within their Government were involved in FAO matters. Effective coordination among these national agencies to ensure that each Member delegation to FAO bodies support its resource allocation approach in all relevant FAO bodies may help achieve a reallocation of FAO programme resources. Several Members suggested that a reasonable portion of arrears paid should be allocated to the FAO Fisheries Programme.
117. Some Members supported the allocation of increased resources to strengthen the work of the regional fishery bodies. The Committee pointed to opportunities that greater collaboration between FAO and regional fishery bodies could contribute to more cost effective implementation of some activities such as resource monitoring and assessment.
118. It was agreed that the Committee should meet in Rome in 2003. The exact date would be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the Chairman.
119. The Committee noted the initiative by Japan to organize a Conference on Management and Sustainable Development of Fisheries in the Antarctic with the objective to discuss the sustainable use of the Antarctic fishery resources for the benefit of humankind. Some Members reminded the Committee that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was the competent body and urged Japan to formally contact CCAMLR. The observer from CCAMLR informed the Committee that the Scientific Working Group of CCAMLR could address the issue at its July 2001 meeting.
120. The delegation of the United States of America expressed its serious concern on the continuing deterioration of coral reef resources which constituted important ecosystems in a large number of countries. Furthermore, destructive fishing practices had become a major threat to these resources together with land-based pollution and degradation. Additional measures for the protection of coral were necessary to prevent further decline of fish stocks and ensure food security in many small island developing States and coastal communities of some developing States, by taking into consideration particularly the interest of small-scale fisheries. FAO was invited to participate actively at the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and assist in consultations regarding fishery management practices and reef protection mechanisms. Many Members shared the concerns of the delegation of the United States of America. Some Members indicated that this was not a top priority issue for FAO to address, using scarce Regular Programme resources. Some Members informed the Committee on national actions taken to protect coral reefs. The delegation of Norway urged States first to take local actions to solve local problems before calling on FAO. The Secretariat recognized the importance of this issue. It pointed out that despite its high interest, the Fisheries Department did not have specific expertise in coral reefs and lacked the resources that would be needed to respond properly to the demand coming from ICRI and other reef-related initiatives. It stressed, however, the fact that it was nonetheless addressing coral reef fisheries through the Code of Conduct, guidelines on species identification, coastal area management projects, FAO regional fishery management organizations in the Caribbean or Asia and the Pacific areas, etc., even though these actions were not identified as "reef" activities. The Department stressed that it had made proposals for 2002-2003 and in the Medium-Term Plan for a programme on ecosystem-based management of fisheries that would certainly contribute more work on reef management, if adequate resources were allocated.
121. In this same context the delegation of the Philippines informed the Committee that the Governments of the Philippines and Sweden would co-host a Conference on Coral Reefs in Cebu, Philippines, in April 2001. It extended an invitation to the Committee and FAO.
122. The delegation of the United States of America drew the Committee's attention to the problem of sea turtle mortality due to incidental catch and noted the need for information sharing and cooperative research concerning conservation and management of these endangered species. It suggested to hold a meeting on the subject. A number of Members supported the proposal and many indicated the efforts already undertaken at national or regional level. Several delegations pointed out that incidental catch of marine turtles by certain fishing gear were not the only or even the most important source of threat to turtles and stressed that their sustainable use should be viewed within a more comprehensive context, taking into account land-based human activities, equally affecting sea turtle mortality. One Member suggested the convening of an expert consultation to deal with all these issues, with focus also on food security issues in small island countries as well as other social and economic perspectives of the problem. This proposal was also supported by a number of countries. It was generally agreed in this sense that holding an international technical meeting could be useful even if there is no specific agreement on the scope and contents of the meeting. This led to some debate as to the type of approach that would most appropriately tackle the problem and there was general agreement that an international plan of action was not to be considered at this stage. Regarding FAO's involvement in sea turtle conservation and management, some Members underlined the global character of the issue and encouraged the Organization to play a leading role. Other Members stressed that other organizations had a strong mandate in this area and that FAO's involvement should not distract from its current plans and priorities.
123. The Committee was informed of the initiative by New Zealand and Australia to organize a conference on mid- and deep-water fishery resources and management and the request to the FAO Secretariat for collaboration and participation. It was noted that this conference would be self-funded and any FAO involvement would be met out of the FAO Regular Programme.
124. The report was adopted on 2 March 2001.