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|COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES|
|Rome, Italy, 15-19 February 1999|
MAJOR PROGRAMME 2.3 FISHERIES 2000-2005
Giving effect to the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and other recent international fishery instruments1 is the major challenge facing countries in their effort to secure long-term sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development and management. As part of the on-going effort of the Organization to formulate a Strategic Framework, this paper suggests a medium-term strategic response by FAO in light of the outcome of recent global conferences, the deliberations of FAO statutory bodies, the recommendations of the High-Level Panel of External Experts in Fisheries, convened in January 1998, and the First Session of the Advisory Committee on Fishery Research. The Committee is invited to review and comment on the proposed Medium-Term perspectives.
1. This Session of COFI is taking place when a major strategic planning exercise is under way in FAO. Two draft versions of the organization-wide Strategic Framework (COFI/99/9 – CL 115/12), a key policy document to be eventually approved by the FAO Conference at its November 1999 session, are before the Committee for comment as far as fisheries activities are concerned.
2. The Organization is also introducing a new programming methodology, aimed at sharpening the formulation and presentation of programme proposals. In view of timing constraints, detailed proposals for the Programme of Work and Budget (2000-2001) as regards Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries cannot be presented to the Committee. In effect, the new programme entities according to this methodology and associated resource allocations, are still being developed.
3. The purpose of this paper is to present priorities for Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries in the context of a medium-term strategy for the six years period 2000 – 2005. The programme in the medium term is geared towards enhancing the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security in the context of sustainable fisheries management and responsible utilization of fishery resources. The programme of work will continue to be guided by the assessment of prospects and problems in world fisheries and aquaculture as determined by the Fisheries Department, as summarized below, and as approved by the Governing Bodies.
4. The dual challenge facing marine fisheries is improved management of stocks and more responsible fisheries. Such management requires the regulation of fishing activity (ideally, taking account of both inputs and outputs in a fishery) in a precautionary manner so that excessive effort, leading to overfishing, is not applied to stocks and adverse impact is not caused on the environment. In addition, ecosystem management, which takes account of fishing impacts on non-target stocks, is becoming more commonly required, and will add a further complicating dimension to the management challenge. This calls for an active role of FAO in information and methodology transfer to fishery sector partners at international, regional and national levels, to encourage a more ecosystem-oriented approach to fisheries, taking account of the way in which fisheries affect and are affected by the ecosystem as well as the potential value of ecosystems and their alternative uses.
5. The present and future contribution of inland fisheries, in particular of subsistence fisheries, to food security, while probably under reported, is very significant. In many developing countries, in particular, there is a significant scope for enhancing contributions of inland fisheries and aquaculture to food supplies and poverty alleviation. Enhancement techniques in inland fisheries offer good prospects, and small reservoir fisheries have the potential to develop as community-based management initiatives become more widely accepted. However, most fishers still lack access to adequate technical information as well as institutional and technological support required to improve their practices to increase production. One of the greatest threats to the sustainability of inland fisheries resources is environmental degradation and deterioration of wild resources. Public concern about increase in aquatic pollution, destruction of fish habitats, water abstraction and impacts on aquatic biodiversity is high and these trends must be reversed. More information and guidance is urgently needed on protection of living resources in inland waters.
6. Aquaculture is now one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world. In 1996, it contributed 26.5 percent of total global fishery production including aquatic plants in both aquaculture and fish production. Aquaculture makes a significant contribution to global food security in many regions and opportunities exist to further expand its role. There are different forms of aquaculture, some of which have greater benefits to rural economies and food security than others. The potential for further growth of aquaculture is promising. Such growth could be realized through improvements in technologies and resource use, intensification, integration of aquaculture with other farming activities, and development of additional areas for aquaculture.
7. A number of international fora have called upon the world community to develop appropriate responses to the many issues related to by-catch and discards, to the need to expand and promote uniform quality criteria for internationally traded fish and fish products, as well as the need for technical information on trade related issues to be easily accessible. In the interest of food security and the best utilization of limited resources, the problem of post-harvest losses should be tackled as a matter of high priority. Methods and incentives to minimize post-harvest losses need to be improved and implemented, building on work already undertaken by some governments, FAO and other organizations. In addition, the facilitation of value-added processing should be encouraged so as to maximize benefits for producing countries. Furthermore, promoting cooperation in fish trade with a view to avoiding disputes and imposition of sanctions, and minimizing also the impact of international fish trade on those groups of countries which are most vulnerable to food insecurity are issues that need to be addressed.
8. Improved data collection and scientific assessment of resources are required so that decisions concerning fisheries management and aquaculture development options may be more rationally based and informed. This requires a multifaceted approach including (i) national and industry commitment to provide data, (ii) appropriate data collection mechanisms and data management systems, and (iii) improved capacity in FAO and non-FAO regional fishery bodies and other concerned institutions and organizations to conduct quality assessments of status and trends in fisheries.
9. Maintaining the contributions made by fisheries and aquaculture to food security, employment, national economic development and recreation is one of the most important and complex challenges for the international community. It also involves controversial issues. Increases in population and incomes are placing ever-growing demands on aquatic resources. Depending on geography, access to markets and affordable technology, the contribution of fish to food security comes not only from fish produced for direct local food consumption, but also from aquatic products of all types that can be sold domestically or exported for hard currency, as well as those which generate income through recreation, tourism, or employment. Access to all potential types of contributions is not automatic and specific interventions are required to achieve full access.
MEDIUM TERM PRIORITIES
10. Five principal medium-term objectives are envisaged to be simultaneously pursued by FAO:
11. In pursuing the above objectives, FAO needs to implement a comprehensive, interdisciplinary programme to address the range of technical and policy issues that link the environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development and management. The Draft FAO Medium-Term Strategy in support of the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1998-2002) (COFI/99/Inf.6) responds to the current and emerging issues of the sector. FAO’s role in the process is to technically support the implementation of the Code of Conduct, as the major responsibility for implementation of the Code lies with countries themselves.
12. The principal priority areas to be addressed under each objective are further elaborated as below.
SUGGESTED ACTION BY THE COMMITTEE
11. The Committee is invited to review and comment on the above medium-term prospects and priorities.
|1||1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 Convention); 1992 Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 adopted by the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (the Earth Summit); 1993 Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (FAO Compliance Agreement); 1995 Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security; 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of Provisions of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1992 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UN Fish Stocks Agreement), Rome Declaration on World Food Security, and 1995 Rome Consensus on World Fisheries adopted by the FAO Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries; and the 1996 World Food Summit Plan of Action.|