1. The Seventh Session of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) was held in Bremen, Germany, from 22 to 25 March 2000. It was attended by 54 members of FAO, by observers from three non-Member nations, by a representative from the United Nations Environment Programme and by observers from 14 intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations.
2. The Agenda shown in Appendix A was adopted by the Sub-Committee.
3. The list of delegates and observers is given in Appendix B to this report. The documents which were before the Sub-Committee are listed in Appendix C.
4. Mr Grimur Valdimarsson, Director, Fishery Industries Division, FAO, delivered the opening address on behalf of the Director-General, Dr Jacques Diouf. The text of this statement is reproduced in Appendix D. The welcoming address by Senator Josef Hattig, the Senator of Economic Affairs and Ports of the Federal State of Bremen was delivered by Ms Sibylle Winther, Counsellor, Senator for Economic Affairs and Ports. Mr Peter Greim, Chairman of the Federal Association of the German Fishing Industry, delivered a keynote address, reproduced in Appendix E.
5. Ms Jane Willing, New Zealand, was elected Chairperson of the Sub-Committee. Dr Anton Atapattu, Sri Lanka, was elected First Vice-Chairperson and Canada, Germany, Guatemala and Oman were elected as the other Vice-Chairpersons. The Sub-Committee appointed a Rapporteur, Mr Paul Ross, Australia.
6. A report on recent events concerning international trade in fishery products covering several important events which had occurred since the Sixth Session of the Sub-Committee was discussed.
7. The Secretariat reported that fish production had declined substantially from 122.3 million tonnes in 1997 to 116.6 million tonnes in 1998, mainly due to decreased catches of small pelagics in Chile and Peru, caused by "El Niño". Some delegations noted that conservation measures oriented to the recovery of certain fish stocks adopted both at national and international level, may have contributed to the decline in captures. Delegates noted that the increase in net receipts of foreign exchange by developing countries - deducting their imports from the total volume of their exports - rose from US$ 5 200 million in 1985 to US$ 15 000 million in 1998. For many developing nations, fish trade represented a significant source of foreign currency earnings.
8. Some delegations proposed improvements in future reports on this issue including a list of the 15 main importing and exporting countries, and additional commodities such as small pelagics and salmon. The possibility of separating intra-EU trade and extra-EU trade figures was proposed.
9. Delegates noted that fish in food aid was declining over the years in line with the overall decline in food aid. Some delegations suggested that the decline may be linked to fisheries resources. FAO continued to have a role in monitoring the use of fish products in food aid.
10. The Sub-Committee noted the success of the FISH INFOnetwork. Member countries of the various INFO services expressed their appreciation of the achievements made so far, suggesting further work in the field of fish trade. The new INFOSAMAK - now located in Morocco - was duly noted as an important vehicle for promotion of trade in the region.