I. Code of conduct for responsible fisheries
1. Pursuant to the recommendations of the Committee on Fisheries at its Nineteenth and A: Twentieth Sessions, and the instructions of the Council at its Hundred and Second, Hundred and Third, Hundred and Fourth and Hundred and Seventh Sessions and the Conference at its Twenty-seventh Session, the Secretariat has undertaken the preparation of a draft Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which, after consideration by the Twenty-first Session of the Committee on Fisheries, was presented to the Hundred and Eighth Session of the Council with a view to taking the necessary measures to ensure the finalization of the Code for submitting the final text to the Twenty-eighth Session of the Conference in October 1995. To this end, the Council established an open-ended technical committee which held its first session in parallel with the Council from 5 to 9 June 1995 together with the possibility of holding one or two more sessions prior to its next session in October 1995.
2. According to the instructions of FAO Governing Bodies, the draft Code has been formulated to be consistent with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, taking into account the 1992 Declaration of Cancún, the 1992 Rio Declaration and the provisions of Agenda 21 of UNCED, the conclusions and recommendations of the 1992 FAO Technical Consultation on High Seas Fishing, the Strategy endorsed by the 1984 FAO World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development, and other relevant instruments. It has also taken into account the outcome of the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.
3. The Draft Code of Conduct consists of five introductory articles: Nature and Scope; Objectives; Relationship with Other International Instruments; Implementation, Monitoring and Updating; and Application of the Code to Developing Countries. These introductory articles are followed by an article on General Principles which precedes the six thematic articles on: Fisheries Management, Fishing Operations, Aquaculture Development, Integration of Fisheries into Coastal Area Management, Post-Harvest Practices and Trade, and Fisheries Research. The Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas forms an integral part of the Code. In addition, and in support of the implementation of the Code, technical guidelines are being elaborated by the Secretariat.
4. The Conference at its Twenty-seventh Session recommended that the General Principles of the Code be prepared on a "fast track" and accordingly, as a first step, a draft text of the General Principles was reviewed by an Informal Working Group of Government-nominated Experts, which met in Rome from 21 to 25 February 1994. Participation at the working group of experts from developing countries was made possible by an ad hoc contribution of the EU Commission (which covered their travel costs). The Working Group provided guidance for the formulation of a new Secretariat draft of the General Principles. The new draft was widely circulated to all FAO members and Associate Members as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Comments received on the second version of the General Principles were incorporated together with proposals for an alternative text. This document was also the subject of informal consultations with Non-Governmental Organizations on the occasion of the fourth session of the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, held in August 1994 in New York.
5. In order to facilitate consideration of the full text of the draft Code by FAO Governing Bodies, the Director-General proposed to the Council at its Hundred and Sixth Session in June 1994, to organize a Technical Consultation on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing, open to all FAO members, interested non-members, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, in order to provide an opportunity for the widest involvement at an early stage of its elaboration.
6. This Technical Consultation took place in Rome from 26 September to 5 October 1994. Participation of developing countries in the Technical Consultation was facilitated by the generous response of France, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Spain and the USA to FAO's invitation to provide financial support. The Consultation had the opportunity to review thoroughly all the Articles of the complete Draft Code of Conduct. An Alternative Secretariat Draft was then prepared on the basis of comments made during the discussions in plenary and specific drafting changes submitted in writing during the Consultation. The Consultation was able to review also in detail the alternative draft of three of the six thematic articles of the Code, i.e., Article 6 "Fisheries Management", Article 7 "Fishing Operations" (except principles marked with an asterisk) and Article 9 "Integration of Fisheries'' into Coastal Area Management. As agreed, the Secretariat prepared a short Administrative Report which was presented as an information paper to COFI.
7. The Secretariat, recognizing that a number of paragraphs of the Draft Code will probably be affected by the outcome of the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, proposed to the Technical Consultation and to the Council at its Hundred and Seventh Session (Rome, 1524 November 1994) that the final wording of those principles dealing mainly with high-seas issues, which indeed form only a small part of the Code, be left in abeyance pending the outcome of the UN Conference which has planned for two more sessions in 1995. The Council generally endorsed the proposed procedure, noting that following decisions by COFI, the Code would be submitted to the FAO Council in June 1995 which would then decide upon the necessity for a technical committee to meet parallel to that session of the Council in order to elaborate further the detailed provisions of the code if required.
8. Based upon the substantial comments and detailed suggestions received at the Technical Consultation, the Secretariat elaborated a revised draft of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. However, It was noted that comments received were in some cases accommodated in different sections of the Code, wherever they fitted best. The revised draft of the Code was submitted to the Twenty-first Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI), held from 10 to 15 March 1995.
9. The principles dealing mainly with issues being analysed at the UN Conference are concentrated in Article 6 - Fisheries Management, and Article 7 - Fishing Operations, and are marked with an asterisk. However, it was noted that some of those asterisked principles do not only deal with high seas but also with inland waters and EEZs. Written comments on those paragraphs received by the Secretariat were also presented in an information document to COFI.
10. The Committee on Fisheries was also informed that the UN Conference was expected to conclude its work in August 1995. The relevant part of the draft text of the Code could then be reconciled with the language agreed upon at the UN Conference in accordance with a mechanism decided by the Committee and the Council, before submission of the complete Code for its adoption to the Twenty-eighth Session of the FAO Conference in October 1995.
11. The Committee was informed of the progress achieved in the elaboration of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. It was also informed of the various steps the Secretariat had undertaken for the preparation of the draft Code of Conduct for consideration by the Committee on Fisheries and its further submission to the Council with a view to submitting the final text to the Twenty-eighth Session of the Conference in October 1995. The Committee stressed the importance of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as an instrument which can support the implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and UNCED. The Committee established an open-ended Working Group in order to review the draft text of the Code which met from 10 to 14 March 1995.
12. Following directives from COFI, the open-ended Working Group undertook a detailed revision of the draft Code in continuation of the work carried out by the Technical Consultation. It completed and approved the text of Article 8 "Aquaculture Development", Article 10 "Post-Harvest Practices and Trade" and Article 11 "Fisheries Research". In view of the time constraints, the Working Group then decided to provide directives to the Secretariat to redraft Articles 1 to 4Bis. However, some of the directives went beyond consideration of those articles and touched on the character of the draft Code as a whole, and it would have been difficult to incorporate them without the benefit of wider discussion. Accordingly, at this stage, only those changes which could be readily incorporated were inserted into the revised text. The Group also recommended that the text in its entirety should maintain a balance to reflect the objectives and purposes of responsible fisheries. It was also recommended that the elements of research and cooperation as well as aquaculture be included in Article 5, General Principles, to reflect issues developed in the Thematic Articles of the Code.
13. Finally, the open-ended Working Group recommended additional consultations to finalize the analyses of the text in its form and content. Accordingly, the Group supported the Council proposal, to set up open-ended Technical Committees for this purpose. The Group also recommended that once agreement was reached on the substance, it would be convenient to harmonize legal, technical and idiomatic aspects of the Code, in order to facilitate its final approval.
14. The Committee agreed to the proposal endorsed by the Hundred and Seventh Session of the Council on the mechanism to finalize the Code that the final wording of those principles dealing mainly with issues concerning straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, which formed only a small part of the Code, should be re-examined in the light of the outcome of the UN Conference. However, some delegations expressed concern that the Code should not be delayed since it covered not only straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, but all fishery management matters.
15. The Committee took note of the progress achieved in the review of the draft Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries by the open-ended Working Group and urged that the entire Code be completed in time for adoption by the Twenty-eighth Session of the FAO Conference in October 1995.
16. The Report of the open-ended Working Group was presented to the Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries held on 14 and 15 March 1995. The Rome Consensus on World Fisheries emanating from this meeting urged that "Governments and international organizations take prompt action to complete the International Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries with a view to submitting the final text to the FAO Conference in October 1995".
17. The Council was presented with a revised version of the Code of Conduct. As indicated above, Articles 8 to 11 were already finalized; Articles 6 and 7 have been revised twice by the Technical Consultation, but asterisked principles remained in abeyance pending the outcome of the UN Conference; the Secretariat has revised Articles 1 to 4Bis following directives by COFI; Article 5, General Principles, which was extensively considered at an earlier occasion, has remained unchanged except for the inclusion of one principle on aquaculture and another on promotion of cooperation and research as requested by COFI.
18. The Council established an open-ended Technical Committee which held its first session from 5 to 9 June 1995 and was attended by 29 FAO member countries and one observer, with a broad regional representation. A number of relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations also participated.
19. The Council was informed by the Technical Committee that it had undertaken a thorough review of Articles 1 to 5 including the Introduction. It had also examined, enhanced and approved Articles 8 to 11, which had already been revised previously, endorsing all of them. It was also informed that it had started the revision of Article 6, with the exclusion of the provisions marked with an asterisk, therefore, Articles 6 and 7 remained to be finalized.
20. In the light of progress achieved, the Council commended and approved the work carried out by the Technical Committee and endorsed its recommendation for a Second Session to be held from 25 to 29 September 1995 to complete the revision of the Code once the Secretariat has harmonized the texts linguistically and juridically, and taking into account the outcome of the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. If necessary, a Third Session would be held prior to the Session of the Council in October 1995.
21. A revised version of the Code as approved by the Open-Ended Technical Committee at its first session (5-9 June 1995) and endorsed by the One Hundred and Eighth Session of the Council was issued, both as a Conference document (C 95/20) and as a working paper for the second session of the Technical Committee (Document WP/1). Elements pending agreement were shown in shadow, for example, in Articles 3, 5 and 6. In order to facilitate analysis reference to the original enumeration had been retained, while additions had been referred to as "bis", "ter", etc.
22. In order to facilitate the finalization of the entire Code, the Secretariat proceeded to prepare document WP/1 (Addendum) "Secretariat Proposals for Article 6 "Fisheries Management" and Article 7 "Fishing Operations" of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries", taking into account the "Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations 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", adopted by the UN Conference in August 1995.
23. The Secretariat also completed proposals for the harmonization of the text on legal and linguistic aspects and made this available to the Committee in three languages for the session (English, French and Spanish). The Secretariat requested at the opening of the Second Session of the Technical Committee, that on the basis of the Conference document (C 95/20) which was also issued in Arabic and Chinese, concerned delegations provided the Secretariat with written comments on such versions to be taken into account when issuing the revised version.
24. The Open-ended Technical Committee met from 25 to 29 September 1995, with a wide representation of regions and interested organizations, and worked in a full spirit of collaboration and successfully concluded its mandate, finalizing and endorsing all articles and the Code as a whole. The Technical Committee agreed that the negotiations of the text of the Code were finalized. It requested the Secretariat to proceed with the final editing of the text according to agreements reached during the closing session in various recommendations for linguistic harmonization. It instructed the Secretariat to submit the new version as document C 95/20 (Rev.1) to the Hundred and Ninth Session of the Council and to the Twenty-eighth Session of the Conference for its adoption. The Secretariat was also requested to prepare the required draft resolution for the Conference, which should include a call on countries to ratify as a matter of urgency the Compliance Agreement adopted at the last session of the Conference.
25. With regard to linguistic harmonization, the Open-Ended Informal Group on Language Harmonization, held an additional session and, together with the Secretariat, completed the harmonization on the basis of the text as adopted at the closing plenary session and which is presented here as document C 95/20 (Rev.1).
SUGGESTED ACTION BY THE COUNCIL AND CONFERENCE
26. The Council is requested to endorse the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and to recommend its adoption by the Twenty-eighth Session of the Conference.