European Commission's services comments on the V0 draft of the HLPE report on "the role of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition"
The European Commission's services welcome the V0 draft of the HLPE report on "the role of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition".
The European Commission's services share the observation that fisheries and aquaculture are absent from most global reports and discussions on food security and consider that this report offer a good opportunity to highlight the possible role of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security. We would like to thank the HLPE for this extensive draft report that provides a good understanding of the issues at stake and the complexity of fisheries management.
The European Commission's services agree that "food security and nutrition in relation to fish cannot be achieved without the combined sustainability of the two sectors (fisheries and aquaculture)". The crucial role of healthy marine ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture in achieving food security was recognized at the third UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. In this context, States committed to meet the 2015 target as agreed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to maintain or restore stocks to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield on an urgent basis thought the development and implementation of science-based management plans including by adapting fishing catch and effort with the status of the stock and managing by-catch and discards. These objectives have guided the recent reform of the European Union Common Fisheries Policy. This being said, the European Commission's services recognize that further action would be needed to reinforce the contribution of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture to food security and welcome the initiative of the HLPE to propose some specific recommendations.
Through its development cooperation, the European Union (EU) has played a leading role in tackling hunger and malnutrition for many years and food security remains at the top of the EU development agenda. The EU is the world's largest donor in supporting global food security and sustainable agricultural development with an annual budget of some 1 billion euros.
The principles of the European Union (EU) development policy in the field of fisheries have been outlined in a Communication adopted in 2000. For the period 2007-2013, the EU development policy funds have financed several projects in the field of fisheries and aquaculture for a total of around 150M euros. Regional programmes in Africa, in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific Ocean have focused on strategic governance issues including control, surveillance and the fight against IUU fishing. As a complement, national programmes have supported the formulation and implementation of national sectoral policies developed by partner countries as well as initiatives led by local communities. Fisheries have also benefited from EU development programmes on health surveillance, sanitary issues and market-access.
The Commission's services note that HLPE recommendations in the VO draft report are not final recommendations and need to be further screened against evidence. At this stage of the process, we would like to make the following comments for HLPE's consideration:
Starting from a general point of view we think the draft report could more carefully delineate who are currently the food insecure (producers, consumers, owners, labourers, fishers, aquaculture, coastal, urban, subsistence, export, etc.) and whose food security could be improved by sustainable fisheries and aquaculture – and what impact policy choices (trade, fish consumption, fisheries partnership agreements, certification, labelling, aid, FDI, etc.) have on food security in third countries.
Furthermore the answer to the major question in the problem statement (p. 10: "recognizing the well-established importance of fish to food security and nutrition… frequently in a gendered way?") could be developed and made clearer in the final report.
Looking at specific sections of the draft paper the Commission's services have the following remarks:
On the more specific we would like to draw the intention of the HLPE to the EUs Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements which could be a useful example for "Fisheries governance at international level" (page 77):
Bilateral fisheries agreements between the EU and third countries constitute a highly regulated and transparent framework for fishing activities of the EU fleet in third-country waters. Current Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) aim to create a partnership to promote sustainable fisheries, based on the best available scientific advice and information on the cumulative fishing effort in the waters concerned and have the objective to allow EU vessels to fish only surplus resources in the exclusive economic zones of a number of third countries, in line with the relevant provisions of UNCLOS. They constitute a transparent legal framework which aims to ensure that fishing activities of EU fleets are respectful of stock status, of the environment and ecosystems and do not compete with local fishermen communities. Through these FPAs, while obtaining access to the surplus resources of third countries, the EU provides financial and technical support for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector of partner countries. Thus, they can contribute to enhancing food security, both directly (by increasing the local supply of fish) and indirectly (through generated income due to employment creation, harbour activities, processing factories…).
 Paragraph 113, "the Future we want", A/RES/66/288
 Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, Fisheries and Poverty Reduction, COM(2000)724 final, of 8.11.2000
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