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Major Programme 2.3: Fisheries

Regular Programme




Programme of Work



Budgetary Transfers



Final Programme of Work






(Over)/Under Spending, US$ '000



(Over)/Under Spending, %


Field Programme




Extra-Budgetary TF and UNDP Delivery



Extra-Budgetary Emergency Project Delivery



TCP Delivery



Total Field Programme Delivery



Ratio of Field to Regular Programme



Technical Support Services, Prof. Staff Cost



Technical Support Services, % of delivery


Programme Outcome
















Methodologies and Guidelines








Coordination and Information Exchange








Information Systems and Data Bases








International Undertakings and Agreements
































Support to Member Countries and the Field









256. Implementing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and other international fisheries instruments is the major challenge in developing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. During the biennium, the Fisheries Department contributed to the formulation of a Strategic Framework for 2000-2015, endorsed by the FAO Conference. The Department worked during 1998/99 towards enhancing the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security through sustainable fisheries management and responsible utilisation of resources. The under spending of US$ 393,000 shown in the above table mainly resulted from external income and internal transfers for technical support services having been US$ 356,000 less than the amount programmed in the Programme of Work and Budget 1998-1999.

FAO Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries

Delegates from 125 countries and organizations attended a ministerial meeting in March 1999. The Rome Declaration on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was issued, reaffirming commitment to work with all relevant organizations towards optimum sustainable use of world fisheries resources. The meeting supported FAO's work on an International Understanding for dealing with Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.

Programme 2.3.1: Fisheries Information

257. Development of the Aquatic Science and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) database continued; five new centres joined the ASFA partnership. The Organization maintained its leadership role and provided the Secretariat. A new publishing agreement enhanced ASFA availability in developing countries. A project to propagate ASFA in Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries in Africa was started. Demand for services from the Fisheries Branch Library increased: external inquiries more than doubled, mainly via e-mail from Africa and Asia as Internet access spread.

258. The Department Internet site grew rapidly, becoming a major source of fisheries information. A project funded by the Government of Japan started the development of the Internet-based Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS) in partnership with regional and national organizations. Following a review of current fisheries status and trends reporting and current information, the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR) stressed the need for reliable, comprehensive data, requesting a draft International Plan of Action on Fishery Status and Trends Reporting for the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) to improve information quality at national, regional and global levels.

259. Poor responses from many countries to requests for national statistics continued to give concern. Apprehension persisted about the reliability of some reported statistics, despite extensive dialogue with the national authorities concerned. Extensive data distribution was ensured through statistical publications, the Corporate Database for Substantive Statistical Data (FAOSTAT) and computerised packages available on the Internet. During the biennium, the programme produced the most comprehensive statistics ever on fish protein and consumption in national diets. Work began to improve the quality of FAO's fishing fleet statistics. Activities included an initial inquiry into the value of capture fishery production and a revision of species classification codes for international statistics reporting on 10,000 aquatic species. In collaboration with the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT), a database of conversion factors for determining live-weight equivalents of fishery products was revised and updated.

260. With the Coordinating Working Party on Atlantic Fishery Statistics (CWP) and regional organizations, the programme undertook further development of norms, standards, classifications and procedures for fishery statistics. In conjunction with regional fisheries organizations, implementation of guidelines on the routine collection of capture fishery statistics was promoted to establish cost-effective and sustainable data collection programmes. Regional and national workshops encouraged collection of higher quality fishery and aquaculture statistics. Technical assistance supported statistical development projects in Africa using standardised approaches and software.

Programme 2.3.2: Fisheries Resources and Aquaculture

261. The challenges facing marine fisheries are improved management and more responsible development, requiring precautionary regulations to avoid excessive effort and adverse impact on stocks and the environment. Many activities in this area focus on interpretation and adaptation of research results, particularly for application in developing countries. Work included:

262. Work continued on maintaining and updating resources archives and databases on biological characteristics and populations (POPDYN), involving collection and evaluation of information regarding identification, nomenclature, distribution, habitat, biology, exploitation and management. Outputs included:

263. To further the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, guidelines were prepared on:

264. Work was done on reference points for a practical manual on fisheries resource management methods. A prototype data network for the Mediterranean was developed and tested. A significant amount of field programme assistance and support to working groups on resources assessment and management of FAO regional fishery bodies was provided.

265. An analysis of trends in aquaculture and inland fisheries concluded a global synthesis based on reviews and workshops in six regions. Technical reviews and guidelines were prepared on:

266. Expert consultations took place on the Special Programme on Food Security and the integration of aquaculture into rural development. Cooperation on expert consultations with the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific led to the formulation of a programme to promote aquaculture for sustainable rural livelihood development. Publications included guidelines on rapid and participatory rural appraisal of small-scale aquaculture and a review of consumption and market accessibility of freshwater fish in Asia. A network for integrated aquaculture and irrigation systems for Africa was started, in cooperation with national and international organizations. Databases and information systems were further developed on:

267. Technical assistance provided in various fields involved over 900 staff-days working with 50 member countries on 75 field projects, including aquaculture health and aquatic environment management, nutrition, genetics and biodiversity.

268. Two major meetings were organised: the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium (in collaboration with the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific - NACA) and the Expert Consultation on the Proposed COFI Sub-committee on Aquaculture. Collaboration with UN agencies and other organizations increased in the areas of:

Programme 2.3.3: Fisheries Exploitation and Utilization

269. Work supporting the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries continued on:

270. The programme participated in the Latin America workshop on Responsible Fisheries and the Code of Conduct in Latin America.

271. Consultations were organised on sustainable fishing technologies and practices and reduction of seabird mortality in longline fisheries, resulting in an action plan and guidelines on the latter. Training and information exchange included:

272. There were workshops for small island developing states in the South Pacific on privatisation and strengthening the economic role of fisheries, for Asia and the Pacific on globalisation and the deregulation of marine capture fisheries and one on developing training courses. Support continued for regional cooperation on fishing technology, research and development institutions and technical aspects of fish production, fishing vessel design and equipment.

273. Work on sustainable fishing technology included preparation for a global project for the reduction of environmental impacts of tropical shrimp trawling, assistance and advice for small-scale fishing communities and monitoring of fleets and gear. Studies were published on the economic performance and technological features of marine capture fisheries.

274. Publications included:

275. The much-appreciated training programme on fish technology and quality assurance funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) ended in 1999. Technical consultations in Latin America focused on fish technology and the trade impact of listeria in fish products. FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) collaborated in expert consultations on the role of governments in audit and verification of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems and risk assessment of microbiological hazards in foods. A symposium on fish utilisation in Asia and the Pacific and an expert consultation on bycatch utilisation in tropical fisheries were held at the 26th Session of the Asia Pacific Fisheries Commission, Beijing, China, September 1998.

276. The Fish Marketing and Information Network (GLOBEFISH and Regional Services) organised commodity conferences and joint activities with industry and participated in international trade fairs featuring fishery products. Increasing demand led to further expansion of the publication programme of the Network, whose efficiency was reviewed. Adjustments were made in the cooperative mechanism introduced to maintain effective service through 2005-2010. Technical contributions were made to training workshops on the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements and preparing for trade negotiations.

277. Following the sixth session of the COFI Sub-committee on fish trade, further consultation during the 23rd session of COFI and the 116th session of the FAO Council resulted in a mandate for FAO to continue work on eco-labelling. The governing bodies asked for contributions to the process of reviewing the listing of aquatic animals in the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Sub-committee expanded its cooperation with the Common Fund for Commodities in its capacity as the international commodity body for fishery products.

278. The programme delivered a significant amount of field programme assistance through studies and missions.

Programme 2.3.4: Fisheries Policy

279. The 1998 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture and a technical report on worldwide demand for fish through 2015 were published. Revision of approximately 100 fisheries country profiles was completed; by the end of the biennium the Department's Internet site included 77 of these.

280. Increased support was given to analysis and resolution of international fishery policy issues through strengthening governance by FAO regional fishery bodies. Under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution, the members of the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission (IOFC) abolished the Commission and its subsidiary bodies. To cover the area of the former IOFC Gulfs Committee, the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) was established. The Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) agreed to simplify its structure to a secretariat, a scientific advisory group and ad hoc working groups. The General Fishery Commission for the Mediterranean, awaiting approval of amendments to its statutes, strengthened its support of Mediterranean fisheries and aquaculture management. The programme organised the 23rd Session of the Committee on Fisheries, the Second Session of the Advisory Committee for Fisheries Research and the first meeting of FAO and Non-FAO Regional Fishery Bodies and Arrangements.

281. The 23rd Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, following a series of international meetings, negotiated and endorsed three International Plans of Action:

282. Technical consultations included one on eco-labelling and another, hosted by the Government of Mexico, on issues related to the measurement of fishing capacity. A review was begun of factors causing excess capacity of world fishing fleets and resource depletion. At the end of the biennium, guidelines on large and small scale fisheries management were well advanced.

283. Activities were undertaken, some with extra-budgetary funding, to help resolve policy issues relevant to specific geographical areas. A comprehensive regional programme to improve sustainable fisheries livelihoods in 25 West African countries was started, with funding from the UK. The first in a series of case studies of socio-economic consequences of transfer to sustainable fisheries opened with local institutions in China and Thailand. A study to assist African governments to develop policies promoting commercial aquaculture was started. The FISHCODE project, funded by Norway, provided advice on fisheries monitoring, control, surveillance and management to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.


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