FAO Fisheries Department - Committee on Fisheries
December 1996 COFI/97/6


Twenty-second Session
Rome, Italy 17-20 March 1997

The document provides, in a unified format, the context and selected achievements of FAO's work in fisheries information, resources and aquaculture, exploitation and utilization, and policy at headquarters and the decentralized offices, and the relationship of this work to the field programme. Priorities are elaborated with respect to the evolving prospects and outlook for world fishery resources and production, Member Nations' objectives, the various instruments adopted under United Nations and FAO auspices, and FAO's strategic plan. Three medium-term objectives are proposed: promotion of increased contribution of responsible fisheries and aquaculture to world food supplies and food security; promotion of efficient, sustainable and responsible fisheries sector management; and global monitoring and strategic analysis of fisheries. The Committee is invited to review and comment on the achievements and priorities of FAO's work in fisheries.


1.     In line with guidance received from FAO's Governing Bodies to streamline meeting agenda and documentation, and to facilitate the link between programme achievements and future priorities, the review of the Organization's Major Programme in Fisheries 1994-96, Medium-Term Plan 1998-2003 and priorities for the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 1998-99 have been combined under one agenda item, with the present document covering all these elements. Cross references are made when appropriate to other substantive documents presented to the Committee at the session.



2.     The main Governing Bodies, i.e. the Conference and the Council, receive two major documents, the Programme Implementation Report and the Programme Evaluation Report, which have Organization-wide coverage. To avoid unnecessary duplication, this section reports on a selective basis on major achievements under the Fisheries Programmes to facilitate the task of the Committee in advising the Council on progress made in implementation, including eventual problems encountered during this process.

3.     It is recalled that, for the 1996-97 biennium, the Conference approved at its last session of October 1995 an overall budget level of US$ 650 million against the zero-growth proposals in the PWB document totaling nearly US$ 707 million. Adjustments to the PWB were considered and approved by the Programme and Finance Committees at their joint meeting in May 1996, as mandated by the Conference itself. The larger part of the required reductions was met by efficiency savings and cuts under non-technical areas. However, limited cuts have also had to be made to technical and economic activities.

4.     The implementation plan included reductions in the overall number of posts, although no budgetary provision was made for the associated separation costs; rather the Programme and Finance Committees approved a strategy wherein the savings arising from the large number of vacant posts at the commencement of the biennium would be applied for this purpose to the extent necessary.

5.     It is inevitable that such vacant posts will impact upon programme implementation. In the case of the Fisheries Programmes, over 17% of professional headquarters posts under the Regular Programme were vacant at 1 January 1996. Where possible, the programmes affected by such vacancies are being maintained through the efforts of colleagues supported by additional resources for consultants and other human resource contracts. Thus, while there may be some delays, it is still expected that the programme will be substantially implemented and the approved budget fully committed within the biennium.

6.     The 1993 session of the FAO Conference recognized that the long-term orientation of the Strategy for Fisheries Management and Development endorsed by the 1984 World Fisheries Conference was still valid, with adjustments for the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the 1992 International Conference on Responsible Fishing, the 1992 Technical Consultation on High Seas Fishing, and the 1992 International Conference on Nutrition. It indicated that the Fisheries Programmes should pay increased attention to environmental impact assessment in fisheries and aquaculture, integration of fisheries in coastal area management, responsible approach to fisheries development on the high seas and in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs), fishery product safety and quality assurance with due attention to collaboration with private industry, and promotion of applied fishery research at national and regional levels. These priorities were emphasized in the 1994-95 PWB.

7.     The 1995 session of the FAO Conference adopted the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and broadly endorsed priorities raised in the Rome Consensus on World Fisheries, adopted by the FAO Ministerial Conference on Fisheries earlier in the same year. The medium-term priorities were adjusted to include implementation of the Code of Conduct, including capacity-building in developing countries through the Regular Programme and extra-budgetary resources, conservation and sustainable use of aquatic genetic resources, and strengthening regional fisheries bodies in order to deal more effectively with fisheries conservation and management issues.

8.     The PWB for 1994-95 and 1996-97 have contributed to these medium-term priorities through a range of activities grouped into three main thrusts:

9.     Areas where activities had to be reduced include work on marine mammals, follow-up to the International Conference on Nutrition, promotion of basic research in fish technology, cooperation with associations and industries concerned with fish-meal production, and incorporation of fisheries into integrated coastal area management.

10.     The objectives and activities of the Major Programme in Fisheries take advantage of the Organization's comparative advantage as a neutral forum to address international issues, a centre for global fisheries information with recognized excellence in analysis and projection of trends, and its links through the Field Programme with practical application and expertise.


11.     To permit the Committee to assess the progress made by the Organization in the achievement of its of medium-term objectives in the context of the priorities established by its Governing Bodies, this section highlights key achievements and issues in selected elements of each of the four Programmes under the Major Programme in Fisheries. It thus complements the areas covered by other papers presented to the Committee, particularly documents COFI/97/2, 3, 4 and 5 as well as COFI/97/Inf.7, 9, 11 and 12.

Fisheries Information

12.     The Fisheries Information Programme contributed to global monitoring by providing reliable, internally consistent and internationally comparable fishery and aquaculture data and statistics. The Programme expanded its series of micro-computer software products (FISHSTAT PC) for the dissemination of fishery statistics on global and regional catches and aquaculture production and values, first introduced in 1994. The use of such tools permits a higher degree of data retrieval and analysis than hard copy publications and is expected to result in significant savings in publications costs. A parallel activity concerned development of standardized concepts and methods for the statistical monitoring of fisheries at regional and national levels and the strengthening of national capacity in sample survey statistics (ARTFISH).

13.     The world catches and landings database and the aquaculture production database were updated on an annual basis. The GFCM and CECAF catch databases were updated every two years. They have been disseminated in electronic form and, in the case of world catches and aquaculture, as hard-copy publications. Fully detailed world catch statistics for the extended time period 1950-1994 were disseminated for the first time on electronic media.

14.     The updating and dissemination of the fishery commodities database lagged slightly behind schedule for operational reasons. In line with the Organization's efforts to reduce publication costs, a reduced version of the Yearbook of Fisheries Statistics was prepared and disseminated annually in paper form, and in greater detail in electronic form.

15.     Priority attention was given to updating the Food Balance Sheets in the WAICENT fishery module for the calculation of fish consumption statistics and indicators required for the World Food Summit. Support was provided to the WAICENT team for placing fishery data on the Internet, and the fisheries Internet pages generated a rapidly increasing number of statistical inquiries from scientists, fisheries managers and the general public.

16.     An inquiry to collate data on shark catches and trade in shark products was initiated, financed by a Japanese Trust Fund provided as a follow-up to the 1995 Kyoto Conference on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security. An Associate Professional Officer assigned to the Programme by the Netherlands took up duty at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific to improve and expand the provision of fishery statistics by countries in Asia and the Pacific. The office assisted the FAO Indo-Pacific Tuna Programme in transferring responsibility for collecting and compiling tuna statistics in South East Asia to SEAFDEC.

17.     Methodological aspects of the statistical work in fisheries and aquaculture were also addressed, including discussion at an ad hoc inter-sessional meeting of the Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics (CWP) which took place in July 1996. In particular, attention was given to (1) developing the collection of aquaculture structural data within agriculture censuses (in conjunction with the FAO Statistics Division), (2) preparing a handbook on the establishment of national economic accounts for fisheries (also in conjunction with the FAO Statistics Division), (3) refinement of the definition of aquaculture (in conjunction with the Fishery Resources and Aquaculture Programme), and (4) developing classification standards for fishery commodities.

Fisheries Resources and Aquaculture

18.     The marine fishery resources identification, monitoring, assessment and management elements of the Fisheries Resources and Aquaculture Programme focus on improving global information and capacity in resource evaluation and management. Several species catalogues, field guides and identification sheets were produced for key fishery resources. General stock assessment software, such as FISAT (developed with ICLARM), as well as specific software for production modeling (CLIMROD) were published. New software, including a Virtual Population Analysis package, a size-based yield model (VIT), and manuals and software on bio-economic analysis (BEAM IV and SPATIAL), were also produced. This work has been enhanced by use of the Academic Partnership Programme. These software and methods were introduced into working parties of FAO, other bodies in the Caribbean, South America, Southeast Asia, the Persian Gulf and Southwestern Africa, and at national level in collaboration with the respective Regional and Sub-regional Offices. The headquarters-based project "Training in Fish Stock Assessment and Fishery Research Planning", funded by Denmark, continued to be the main vehicle for dissemination and training in the methods developed under this Programme.

19.     In support of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related international agreements and initiatives, work has shifted towards more intensive monitoring of world fishery resources and their management, including the impact of excess fishing capacity on fishery resources. Innovative concepts were developed or reviewed, such as reference management points, the precautionary approach to fisheries, and sustainability indicators. These concepts were introduced into the Fisheries Management Guidelines for implementation of the Code, prepared during 1996.

20.     In collaboration with the Fisheries Information Programme, this Programme produced a global review of management performance and new requirements originating from recently agreed international instruments on fisheries. An analysis was also made, for the first time, of the 13,600 time series of catch data collected since 1950, leading to a new assessment of worldwide oceans potentials.

21.     Guidance has been provided on the management of several important fisheries. A bio-economic model that explains stock fluctuations in the Peruvian upwelling area was developed, and a newmanagement strategy was proposed and adopted. A programme has also been developed to enhance conservation and management of small-island fishery resources. During 1996, support was provided to Morocco in reviewing its fisheries policy, and a unilateral trust fund project was established for a more thorough review of its fisheries development/management strategy with a view to bringing it in line with the Code of Conduct.

22.     The inland resources and aquaculture elements have concentrated on increasing integration between inland fisheries, aquaculture and other users of the aquatic and associated resources. In inland fisheries the emphasis has been on approaches to the enhancement of yields and the increasing trend to use culture-based management methods which will be the subject of an international consultation in 1997. In aquaculture the main focus has been towards an increasing integration of the aquaculture sector into general rural practice in the case of inland waters and into coastal development in marine environments.

23.     Integrated aquaculture formed the topic of a major multi-disciplinary Expert Consultation on Small-Scale Rural Aquaculture held in 1996, which highlighted the importance of using new approaches to needs identification, objective setting and development planning of aquaculture as one of many components for rural development. Regional surveys of aquaculture development and research priorities were completed for sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and were underway for Asia. The programme developed and applied GIS-based strategic tools for identification of aquaculture development potential in Africa and Latin America based on a range of climatic, resource, economic and social factors.

24.     Comprehensive and cooperative information systems for aquaculture directly involving Member Nations have been developed, such as the GFCM aquaculture networks (SIPAM) and the NACA/FAO fish health network. Extension of these systems is planned for Latin America and Asia. Due to the reduced number of field projects directly addressing inland fisheries and aquaculture (e.g. ALCOM in Southern Africa), these information systems and the underlying networking would assume greater prominence in building capacity in, and providing guidance to, Member Nations on aquaculture development issues.

Fisheries Exploitation and Utilization

25.     Programme elements on fishing technology and rational utilization of fishery resources of the Fisheries Exploitation and Utilization Programme have contributed to promoting reduction in wastes in fisheries through development of efficient and selective fishing gear and methods to reduce the capture of juveniles and unwanted by-catch, increase the survival rate of escapees, and reducing post harvest losses. Fishing gear selectivity was addressed in the Guidelines to Fisheries Operations, published during 1996 in the context of implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The results of the FAO/Japan Expert Consultation on Reduction of Wastage in Fisheries, held 28 October-1 November 1996 in Tokyo, provided further guidance on these issues (see COFI/97/Inf.7). The Fisheries Policy Programme would collaborate by initiating a case study on the economic aspects of discarding in 1997.

26.     The Programme has been very active at regional and national levels on capacity building and training in selective fishing methods. Six research institutions in Asia (Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Australia) and East Africa (Tanzania and Mozambique) agreed to participate in a cooperative research network on selective tropical shrimp trawling, with the assistance of FAO and the participation of INFOFISH. The network focuses on information collection and cooperative research activities, the results of which will be disseminated at a regional workshop in Australia during May 1997. The final report of the Experts and Industry Consultation on Selective Fishing in Asia, held in China in 1995, was completed.

27.     An Expert Consultation on Fish Technology in Africa was held in Kenya in 1996 with the cooperation of the FAO Regional Office for Africa, which provided three national experts under the Partnership Programme. During 1996, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific established the Asian Fish Technology Network on the Internet to increase the dissemination of information, and assisted with the Ninth Session of the APFIC Joint Working Party on Fish Technology and Marketing in Sri Lanka.

28.     Concerning better use of catch, applied research on the use of insulated containers for fish handling in Mozambique was initiated, and the proceedings of the Expert Consultation on Utilization of By-catch in Tropical Shrimp Fisheries were completed. Practical demonstration of handling of small pelagic species in chilled or refrigerated sea water on an industrial scale was arranged for representatives of the Moroccan fishing industry through a study tour in Denmark. The headquarters-based project "Regional Workshops on Fisheries Technology and Quality Control", funded by Denmark, continued to facilitate the dissemination and use of improved fish utilization methods developed by the Programme. Work on international trade in fish and fish products is presented in documents COFI/97/5 and COFI/97/Inf.9 and 12.

Fisheries Policy

29.     The fisheries policy and planning elements of the Fisheries Policy Programme have shifted their focus from country-oriented practical advice to more strategic work on global issues, preparing projections of likely developments in the fisheries sector. For example, in the latter half of 1995, this Programme coordinated the Organization's contributions to the documentation for the Kyoto Conference on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security. The Programme also coordinated the preparation of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture in the first half of 1996, and has contributed directly, and in collaboration with other Programmes, to key issues including aquaculture, discards and use of small pelagic resources. For example, the Programme has been preparing, using expertise from an institute in Indonesia, the first in a series of studies to establish the market potential for small pelagic species and the products derived from them. It has also initiated work on the rational allocation of resources for aquaculture development, as well as economic assessment of species and technologies used in Asia.

30.     One of the important issues addressed in the 1996-97 biennium was management of fishing capacity, with preparations underway for an expert consultation to be held in late 1997 in cooperation with the United States Government. In support of the meeting, a literature review of fishing subsidies as a major contributor to excess capacity would be carried out during 1997.

31.     International coordination and liaison has been focused on the high priority areas of implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and strengthening of regional and sub-regional fisheries bodies, as elaborated in documents COFI/97/3 and 4, respectively. Following significant contributions to the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, the Programme has followed up on the 1995 UN Agreement, especially with respect to regional mechanisms for implementation. It also coordinated formulation of the FAO Programme on Fisheries Assistance to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as presented in document COFI/97/Inf.11. Work in global and regional fisheries coordination is facilitated by the fisheries staff of the FAO Regional and Sub-regional Offices, who now serve as secretaries to most regional fisheries bodies.


32.     While the operation of the field programme has undergone significant change since 1994, it remains an important element of FAO's work in fisheries. Projects continue to cover a wide range of fields meeting Member Nations' needs, providing both development assistance and a mechanism for putting to use the norms and methods developed by the Fisheries Programme. Staff of the Fisheries Department continue to devote time to technical backstopping of projects under the Field Programme,with the cost of their contributions reimbursed by the projects whenever possible. Technical support for formulation and backstopping is to be provided, in the first instance, by staff in the Regional and Sub-regional Offices, who should spend proportionally more of their time on this activity. When appropriate, expertise was engaged through the Partnership Programme, particularly under the TCDC scheme.


33.     The general orientation of the medium-term perspectives for 1998-2003 will be guided by the Medium-term Plan 1996-2001, updated to account for the evolving prospects and outlook for world fishery resources and production, and Member Nations' objectives, especially with respect to the World Food Summit Plan of Action.


34.     The major issues in world fisheries are highlighted in document COFI/97/2. International public concern about fisheries and aquaculture with respect to long-term capacity to provide both food and a source of livelihood is focused, inter alia, on:

35.     Solutions to most of these issues reside in market forces combined with government intervention and international cooperation to establish the appropriate institutional conditions for adjustments to economically and socially efficient long-term levels of fishing effort and resource exploitation. The basic global frameworks necessary for national action and international cooperation are already in place, particularly in the various instruments recently adopted under United Nations and FAO auspices. These are: the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and the Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action for the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security.

36.     The 1995 Agreement applies primarily to an estimated 10% of total world fish production taken on the high seas, and addresses the necessary relations between management schemes in zones under national jurisdiction and the high seas with respect to straddling and highly migratory stocks, introducing the need to apply the basic provisions of the precautionary approach to both jurisdictional areas. The Code of Conduct establishes principles and standards applicable to the conservation, management and sustainable development of all fisheries consistent with international instruments and initiatives, and in harmony with the environment. As part of this process and now as an integral part of the Code, the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas was adopted by the FAO Conference in 1993. The Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action are aimed at achieving sustainable, responsible and efficient use of living aquatic resources while respecting cultural and economic characteristics of both fishers and consumers.

37.     In November 1996, FAO organized the World Food Summit in Rome, where Governments committed themselves, in the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action, to attain food security through sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development policies and practices at the individual, household, national, regional and global levels. The Declaration and Plan of Action highlight the importance of sustainable fisheries in low as well as high potential areas; responsible resource management; fishers participation; effective research and extension; and empowerment of people, especially women. It also acknowledges the need for urgent action to combat overfishing.


38.     The Rome Consensus on World Fisheries, adopted by the FAO Ministerial Conference on Fisheries in 1995, urged that Governments and international organizations take prompt action on a range of priority issues arising from the present state of world fisheries. This was then confirmed by the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action and provides the main orientation of FAO's work in fisheries. This work must now be linked to the Organization's strategy for supporting Member Nations in their implementation of the Rome Declaration and World Food Summit Plan of Action. The priorities expressed by Member Nations through the main international initiatives, and reflected in FAO's strategic objectives, are addressed by the Fisheries Programme which will pursue the following medium-term objectives in the period 1998-2003.

(A) Promotion of increased contribution of responsible fisheries and aquaculture to world food supplies and food security

39.    Four priority areas will be addressed under this objective.
i) Promotion of rebuilding strategies for depleted stocks and sustainable development of unused or under-utilized stocks by supporting research capacity creation and information exchange, and by promoting low cost harvesting techniques to help developing countries improve their capabilities to harvest their EEZ resources.
ii) Reduction of waste through support to cooperative research and development aimed at increasing fishing gear selectivity and reducing wastes from fish discards and post-harvest losses, and through the elaboration of guidelines for responsible fishing practices.
iii) Expanded fish supplies from aquaculture by integrating fish farming practices into farming systems, and by making these practices part of rural development and coastal zone management; improving the targeting of aquaculture development efforts, including the identification of aquaculture potential and the efficiency of resource utilization; assisting in the adaptation and transfer of appropriate technologies; and developing and disseminating methods for enhancement of fish production from inland waters and through marine ranching.
iv) Increased participation of developing countries in international trade in fish and fishery products by promoting fish product safety and quality assurance, and by developing cost-efficient systems for monitoring fish and food consumption, particularly in rural communities to assess and mitigate the risk of declining food availability.

(B) Promotion of efficient, sustainable and responsible fisheries sector    management at the global, regional and national levels

40.    Using the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, two priorities will be addressed under this objective.

i) Promotion of efficient, sustainable and responsible fisheries and aquaculture practices by providing advice on appropriate marine and inland fishery conservation and management regimes, especially in areas and on stocks that are heavily overfished or threatened by environmental degradation, including strengthening the scientific basis for multi-species management; developing and advising on methods for monitoring the capacity of fishing fleets and communities in relation to sustainable yields of fishery resources, and on procedures for identifying and reducing excess capacity; focusing attention on the need to reduce threats to the aquatic environment, whether from fisheries themselves or from other land- or sea-based activities; and promoting the use of responsible and ecologically sound aquaculture practices.
ii) Strengthening international coordination and liaison through promotion of early ratification and implementation of the UN Agreement on straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks; strengthening of FAO and non-FAO sub-regional and regional fishery bodies and arrangements to meet the requirements set by the 1982 Convention, the above UN Agreement, and the Code of Conduct; increasing consultation on fisheries matters between FAO, the private sector and non-governmental organizations; monitoring and reporting on action taken in implementing UNCED recommendations and UN General Assembly resolutions with respect to fisheries, including participation in the Sub-Committee on Oceans and Coastal Areas of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) and the continued co-sponsoring of the Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP); and monitoring and reporting on implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

(C) Global monitoring and strategic analysis of fisheries to provide a sound basis for projection of production potentials, resource trends and impacts of fisheries practices

41.    Two priorities will be addressed under this objective.
i) Improving the collection, processing and dissemination of information, data and statistics, through increased efforts for monitoring of trends in aquaculture production and of high seas catches and vessels authorized to fish on the high seas; improving the degree of spatial and taxonomic resolution of fishery statistics to improve their usefulness in monitoring and analysis of fisheries and resources; and assessing and monitoring trends in the demand and supply of fish and their effects on food security, employment, consumption, income, trade and sustainable production.
ii) Improving and integrating information systems on fisheries by developing geographical information systems (GIS) applications, thematic fisheries mapping, and electronic interactive atlases of fisheries as key components of FAO resources monitoring and policy advice.


42.     The priorities proposed to be addressed in the 1998-99 biennium under Major Programme 2.3: Fisheries are formulated below as immediate objectives to be attained during the two-year PWB, consistent with the Major Programme's medium-term objectives and, ultimately, with the Organization's strategic objectives. These objectives have been identified on the basis of the seven criteria for programme assessment established by the FAO Council, regional and sub-regional priorities, and the results in the previous biennium. They will be pursued under four programmes: Fisheries Information; Fisheries Resources and Aquaculture; Fisheries Exploitation and Utilization; and Fisheries Policy.

43.     Implementation will make full use of the capacity available in FAO's decentralized structure to implement fisheries programme activities in the regions. Closer links will be established with other Organizational units when an inter-disciplinary approach would facilitate achievement of objectives, such as integrated aquaculture. The Fisheries Department will continue to interact with the Technical Cooperation Department, providing additional direct services to Member Nations in policy assistance,investment support and the field programme. The Department will also continue to seek extra-budgetary support for its normative work, for instance in the framework of the Inter-regional Programme of Assistance to Developing Countries for the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Assistance to small-scale fisheries and integrated aquaculture will be included in the Special Programme on Food Security where appropriate, and efforts will be pursued to make full use of the Partnership Agreements.

44.     Cutting across all priority areas, activities will aim to build the capacity of national governments and institutions, and especially their human resources, to collect and analyze information, carry out research and implement improved policies and practices.

45.     The formulation of the organization-wide PWB, based on the outcome of the World Food Summit and preparation of FAO's strategic framework to implement the Rome Declaration and Plan of Action, was in process at the time of preparation of this document. Therefore, the programme narratives with the usual indicative budgetary resource tables will be provided to FAO Governing Bodies in an extract of the Summary Programme of Work and Budget document as an annex to this paper.

(A) Increased contribution of responsible fisheries and aquaculture to world food supplies and food security

46.     Develop capacity to evaluate unexploited and under-exploited fish stocks and improve management of unstable small pelagic stocks. To provide a basis and build-up capacity for practices which increase production, follow-up on recommendations of the FAO Advisory Committee on Fishery Research (ACFR) to be established in 1997, as guided by the results of the 1994 Expert Consultation which addressed the use of unexploited and under-exploited species, such as small pelagics, for direct human consumption.

47.     Reduce wastes in fisheries operations. Focus on reducing discards both to minimize impact on fishery resources and make better use of fish harvests. Selectivity concepts will be evaluated and disseminated to reduce by-catch, the effectiveness of economic measures and legal instruments as tools for reducing discards will be reviewed, and guidance provided on improved use of retained by-catch.

48.     Promote environmentally sound and sustainable aquaculture development integrated into rural, agricultural and coastal development. The opportunity for aquaculture to contribute even more to fish production, especially for rural households, will be increased by collection and analysis of structural data on aquaculture, guidance for efficient organization of aquaculture development in low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs) and evaluating the costs and benefits of aquaculture system and small water body enhancements in LIFDCs.

49.     Monitor international trade in fish and fishery products with reference to food needs of countries and sustainable resource use. Constraints will be reduced by identifying fish trade opportunities with and among developing countries, advising on the need and availability of trade-related services, and providing guidance on establishing conditions for reliable fish trade in the context of relevant international initiatives, especially the World Trade Organization. Technical advice will be provided to strengthen the independent fish marketing centres (INFOFISH, INFOPECHE, INFOSAMAK, INFOPESCA) and those being established to cover Central and Eastern Europe (EASTFISH) and China (INFOYU). Demand parameters suitable for supporting sustainable resource management, in particular those related to species and products traded internationally, will be identified.

50.     Promote fish product safety and quality assurance. Consumers benefit directly from safe fish products, while producers gain through improved trade. A database on fish import regulations will be maintained, and import rejections in major markets will be monitored. Remedies and improvements,such as guidance on the mechanisms and implications of improved post-harvest technology including quality assurance and fish inspection systems, will be made available.

(B) Efficient, sustainable and responsible fisheries sector management at the global, regional and national levels

51.     Develop and promote sustainable fisheries management and enhancements, including multi-species management. Work will focus on providing information and methods, and improving institutions, for developing national capacity to, inter alia: apply the precautionary approach, undertake marine resource surveys, improve the use of monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) systems in relation to their costs and benefits, and ensure self-sustaining fishery statistical systems. Guidelines for the development and use of fishery sustainability indicators will be elaborated and the implications of fishery and fish product certification schemes will be assessed. Special attention will be paid to small-scale fisheries, including those in small island developing States, as well as to the social and economic implications of responsible fishing, participatory development and management, and efficient procedures for rights-based management systems.

52.     Review and promote reduction of excess fishing capacity. FAO will provide information, analyses and guidelines needed for Governments and regional bodies to make decisions within their competence on reducing excess fishing capacity. Specific outputs will include statistics on fishing fleets under the Compliance Agreement, guidance on economic appraisal of alternative approaches to capacity reduction, and review of biological aspects of capacity including optimal production indicators and management reference points. An inventory and database of world fisheries will be initiated as a component of the world fisheries information system using GIS.

53.     Assess and promote reduction of aquatic environmental threats, especially erosion of biological diversity and degradation of aquatic environments. Continued support will be provided for implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and decisions of the Conference of its Parties. Guidance will be provided on application of hazard and impact assessments, and on economic analysis to determine benefits and costs of rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems.

54.     Promote responsible aquaculture practices. Procedures for sustainable and responsible shrimp culture will be promoted, along with guidance on procedures for incorporating economic environmental considerations into national policy. General aquaculture guidelines will be produced on quarantine, feeds and feeding, site selection and allocation, and species introductions and transfers.

55.     Strengthen regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements. A full review of the mandate, modalities of work and allocation of resources is given in document COFI/97/4 . Work will support implementation of the recommendations endorsed by COFI and the Governing Bodies, along with support to the activities of FAO fisheries bodies.

56.     Promote ratification and implementation of international fisheries initiatives. The main focus will be on promotion, support to implementation, monitoring and reporting on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. National and regional bodies will be sensitized about the Code, while implementation is already integrated into other Major Programme activities, including preparation of technical guidelines on the individual articles and other main aspects of the Code. Additional support for implementation of specific articles will be pursued under the inter-regional programme. Monitoring will be carried out through national and regional institutions, with reporting to COFI (e.g. see COFI/97/3). The exchange of information requirement of the Compliance Agreement will be supported through operation of the database on vessels authorized by flag States to fish on the high seas.

(C) Global monitoring and strategic analysis of fisheries

57.     Update and disseminate statistical data and information databases. Screened statistics on capture fishery and aquaculture production, fishing fleets, fishers, resource stocking, fishery commodities and fish consumption will be maintained and disseminated. Countries will be assisted to collect and maintain the related national databases. To improve reliability of aquaculture production data, a global aquaculture database, and regional and specialized databases, will be designed and implemented. FAO will continue to contribute to Fishbase (developed with ICLARM) and to develop its biological and taxonomic information on resources disseminated on paper media and CD-ROM, as well as electronic databases such as POPDYN and SPECIESDAB.

58.     Prepare and disseminate world fisheries and aquaculture trend analysis and outlook. A world-wide view with regional analyses will be provided in the biennial issue of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, supplemented by biennial Fisheries Circulars on the State of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture, and reviews of situations and trends in fisheries and aquaculture for selected countries. There will be a focus on the current situation and global trends in fishing capacity, by-catch and discards, fishing on the high seas, effectiveness of regional bodies, and use of small pelagics. Countries will be assisted in the analysis of data and projection of trends for use in fishery sector management and policy development.

59.     Develop integrated information systems. Affordable developments in information technology, including GIS, CD-ROMs, interactive user interfaces, and networking (especially the Internet) will be used to prepare and disseminate integrated analysis and presentation of fisheries data and strategic information. As a step towards an integrated decision support system for fisheries management, a world inventory of fisheries databases will be established with the cooperation of Member Nations.


60.     The Committee is invited to review and comment on the achievements of the Fisheries Programmes, the medium-term framework, and the main priorities to be addressed by Member Nations and by the Major Programme 2.3: Fisheries during the biennium 1998-99.