Twenty-fourth Session

Rome, Italy, 26 February - 2 March 2001


Table of Contents

1. At its Twenty-third Session in February 1999, COFI made a number of recommendations to the Secretariat and Members. This note summarizes actions taken by the FAO Fisheries Department, usually in collaboration with Members, to address the principal recommendations directed to the Secretariat.

2. The text in the requests/recommendations (R) section has the relevant paragraphs of the Report of the Twenty-third Session given in brackets; while the text in the action (A) section includes, as appropriate, the Agenda Item under which the issue is to be addressed, and a reference in brackets to the appropriate document.


R. Promote integrated resources management, particularly in inland fisheries and aquaculture, Paragraphs 11 and 12

A. Undertook a review of Eco-regional Assessment and Management for Sustainable Inland Fish Production. Organized a workshop on integration/irrigation and aquaculture in Accra, Ghana, in September 1999 and also organized an Asia regional scoping workshop on primary aquatic animal health care in rural, small-scale aquaculture development in Bangladesh in September 1999.
Agenda Item 4 (COFI/2001/2).


R. Further assistance was required for effective implementation of the Code, Paragraph 19

A FAO is executing a Project on Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods through the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in West Africa. The project covers 25 coastal and landlocked countries and is financed at the level of US$35 million over five years (1999-2004) by the Government of the United Kingdom.
Agenda Item 5 (COFI/2001/3).

R. Enhance the use of audio visuals in disseminating the Code, Paragraphs 20 and 72

A. A video "Connecting the Lines, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries" was produced in English, French and Spanish. Powerpoint features were developed on the Code and on specific articles of the Code. The video and other materials were used in several national and regional workshops for the promotion of the Code. A simplified user-friendly version of the Code was also produced.
Agenda Items 4 and 5. (COFI/2001/2, 3)

R. Clarify and simplify national questionnaires to facilitate reporting on actions to implement the Code, Paragraph 21

A. The United States National Marine Fisheries Services made available under the FAO Partnership Programme one dedicated person month to lead an interactive working group to undertake a simplification of the questionnaire, from mid-March to April 2000. The interactive Working Group was composed of national experts, representatives of regional fishery management organizations, professional organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and FAO staff. Using the questionnaire, responses were solicited from FAO member countries, international organizations, regional fishery bodies and non-governmental organizations on progress in implementing the Code and the three international plan of actions.
Agenda Item 5. (COFI/2001/3)

R. Prepare guidelines for integrated monitoring of fisheries in the context of the Code, Paragraph 22

A. A strategy for the implementation of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) in developing countries was elaborated with assistance from the Governments of Canada and Iceland. Guidelines on VMS as an appropriate tool of monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) were published and disseminated. Agenda Items 4 and 5. (COFI/2001/2, 3)


R. Hold a Technical Consultation on the Measurement of Fishing Capacity, Paragraph 36

A. FAO and the Government of Mexico organized the Technical Consultation, 29 November-3 December 1999, in Mexico City. The Consultation was attended by delegations of 56 FAO Members and observers from all regions of the world. The Consultation prepared material for FAO Technical Guidelines on the Measurement and Monitoring of Fishing Capacity.
Agenda Item 5. (COFI/2001/3)


R. Secure funds for the FAO Programme of Fisheries Assistance for Small Island Developing States, Paragraph 40 (SIDS)

A. Two calls by FAO for funds from the international donor community resulted in no responses to support the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Programme. In view of this situation, and taking account of the 1999 Ministerial Conference on Agriculture in SIDS, which inter alia, agreed a Plan of Action on Agriculture in SIDS, it was decided that the FAO Programme of Fisheries Assistance for SIDS would be terminated. FAO's cooperation with SIDS will continue through the plan of action and ad hoc responses for technical cooperation.


R. Continue work on CITES listing criteria for commercially harvested marine fish species, Paragraph 48

A. A draft document analysing the problems with the present set of CITES criteria and guidelines for listing of commercially harvested species was prepared and reviewed by a technical consultation on the subject in June 2000.
Agenda Item 8. (COFI/2001/6)

R. Continue work in the area/subject of eco-labelling of fish and fishery products, Paragraphs 54 and 56

A. The FAO Council at its Hundred and Sixteenth Session endorsed the Report of the Twenty-third Session of COFI. The Council recognized that eco-labelling was controversial and that FAO should continue its work in this area. The Council underscored the need to ensure that any eco-labelling scheme was transparent, voluntary, non-discriminatory and that it not be used to restrict trade. It recommended that FAO should contribute to the work of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Committee on Trade and Environment and other bodies to help ensure that fish trade did not compromise responsible fisheries management.

FAO has published jointly with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) an information booklet on eco-labelling. At its Seventh Session, the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade reiterated the conclusions of the Twenty-third Session of COFI with respect to eco-labelling and considered that there was no mandate from COFI to proceed with a second technical consultation.

A representative of the Fisheries Department (FI) has briefed the meetings of the Committee on Trade and the Environment (CTE) on FI activities of interest to the Committee. The Fisheries Department has also collaborated with the Secretariat of the CTE in the preparation of CTE meeting documents.
Agenda Item 6. (COFI/2001/4, Inf.7)

R. Undertake further work on impact of government subsidies on the fisheries sector, Paragraph 49

A. An Expert Consultation on Economic Incentives and Responsible Fisheries will be held in November 2000 to review the impact of subsidies on trade and fish resources.
Agenda Item 11. (COFI/2001/9)


R. Develop more appropriate ecosystem approaches to fisheries, Paragraph 71

A. Multispecies management projects funded by the Government of Japan are ongoing in Namibia. FAO and UNEP are working to enhance ecosystem-based management of fisheries through cooperation between Regional Seas Conventions (Programme) and regional fishery management organizations. FAO, in collaboration with the Government of Iceland will organize an international conference on responsible fisheries and the ecosystem in September 2001. Inland Fisheries Management and the Aquatic Environment is the topic for the Symposium to be organized in conjunction with the Twenty-Second Session of the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC), in June 2002.
Agenda Item 12. (COFI/2001/10)

R. Countries that have not yet accepted the Compliance Agreement to do so as soon as possible, Paragraph 72

A. By Circular Letter of 13 September 1999, the Director-General, in transmitting the Rome Declaration on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries adopted by the Ministerial Meeting of 10 and 11 March 1999, urged Member Nations of FAO to take appropriate steps to accept the Compliance Agreement as soon as possible. The Director-General also sent out a Circular Letter on 25 September 2000 inviting FAO Members to contribute inputs to the Global Vessel Register called for in the Compliance Agreement and in the international plan of actions on the Management of Fishing Capacity. As of 14 October 2000, the Agreement has been accepted by 18 FAO Members (Argentina, Benin, Canada, Cyprus, European Community, Georgia, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Namibia, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Sweden, Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay).

As of 14 October 2000, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement had 25 ratifications/accessions. They are: Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Cook Islands, Fiji, Iceland, Islamic Republic of Iran, Mauritius, Micronesia, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tonga, United States of America, Uruguay.
Agenda Items 9 and 12. (COFI/2001/7, 10)

R. Develop a strategy to address the problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing Paragraph 72

A. A review was made of activities undertaken by regional fishery management organizations and a preliminary draft of an International Plan of Action was elaborated at an expert consultation organized by Australia and FAO in Sydney in May 2000. The preliminary draft was discussed at a technical consultation in Rome in October 2000. It is envisaged that the preliminary draft plan will be further reviewed by a Second Technical Consultation in February 2001.

Agenda Items 9 and 10. (COFI/2001/7, Add.1, Inf.10)

R. Continue work on development of sustainability indicators, Paragraph 71

A. Guidelines on sustainability indicators were published. Furthermore, a non-parametric method of analysis and representation of sustainability indicators for fisheries (RAPFISH method) in relation to the requirements and criteria contained in the CCRF was developed. Indicators to assess the performance of regional fishery bodies will be discussed at the Second Meeting of FAO and Non-FAO Regional Fishery Bodies and Arrangement in February 2001. An Expert Consultation on Indicators of Sustainable Aquaculture Development will be held in November 2000 in Beijing, China.

The Fisheries Department cooperates with the Malaysia Department of Fisheries, the Penang Fisheries Research Institute and the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in the implementation of a case study on sustainability indicators for the Penang coastal fisheries. The objectives of the case study are to better inform management decision-making, provide early warning about possible negative impacts of land-based developments, and to test the relevance, comprehensiveness and practicability of the FAO Code of Conduct guidelines on indicators for sustainable development.

Agenda Items 4, 5 and 12. (COFI/2001/2, 3, 10)



R. Continue efforts to strengthen FAO Regional Fishery Bodies (RFBs), Paragraph 81

A. The Indian Ocean Fishery Commission (IOFC) and its subsidiary bodies were abolished. The Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) was established under Article XIV of FAO Constitution to cover the same geographical area of the former IOFC Gulfs Committee. Technical Meetings were held for the establishment of a regional fishery body under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution in the South West Indian Ocean. The body will replace the IOFC Committee for the Development and Management of Fisheries in the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO). 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 (GFCM), awaiting approval of amendments to its Statutes, strengthened its support of Mediterranean fisheries and aquaculture management.

The Fishery Committee for the Central Eastern Atlantic (CECAF) requested the Director-General to convene a Legal and Technical Consultation to discuss and eventually adopt a draft agreement for the establishment of a Fishery Commission under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution.

FAO undertook in collaboration with FAO and non-FAO regional fishery bodies an analysis of constraints to effective regional fisheries governance, actions taken by Regional Fishery Bodies to address these constraints and priority activities for strengthened efficiency of RFBs.
Agenda Items 4 and 12. (COFI/2001/2, 10)

R. Organize meeting of FAO and non-FAO RFBs or arrangements prior to the Twenty-fourth Session of COFI, Paragraph 82

A. The meeting will be held on 20 and 21 February 2001 in Rome. The meeting is expected, to address the use of indicators to assess the performance of RFBs, ecosystem-based management of fisheries and possibilities for improving state and trends reporting on fisheries.
Agenda Items 10 and 12. (COFI/2001/8,10)

R. Inform IMO Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation of the importance COFI ascribes to issues related to reflagging of fishing vessels, Paragraph 73

A. A document was prepared but not received in time by IMO to be discussed by its Sub-Committee on Flag-State Implementation for its session scheduled in May 1999. The document was, however, submitted to the Secretariat of the Marine Safety Committee of IMO. As a result, the 22nd Session of MSC endorsed the establishment of the Joint FAO/IMO Ad hoc Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Related Matters, which met in Rome from 9 to 11 October 2000. Agenda Item 9. (COFI 2001/Inf.10)

R. Make improvements in FAO global monitoring of fish stocks, Paragraph 74

A. A Global Information System on Fisheries (FIGIS) funded by Japan with additional support from France, to improve both the quality and transparency of the monitoring process is being developed in collaboration with a number of centres of excellence in resource assessment. The mapping of the world resources distribution on a dedicated geographical information system, particularly sharks and other major exploited species, is ongoing. Resource monitoring in the western Mediterranean and the Adriatic seas is being enhanced with extra budgetary resources. On the advice of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR), a proposal to improve global state and trends reporting on fisheries is being elaborated. Agenda Items 10 and 12. (COFI/2001/8 and 10)

R. Assist developing countries meet quality requirements for fish products of importing countries, Paragraph 76

A. Training workshops, expert consultations, and ad hoc working groups were organized in developing countries of the different FAO regions to develop national capacity on the subject and provide advice both to fish inspection services and the fishery industry. A large part of the training activities during this period were focused on Verification and Audit of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems in order to assist developing countries to comply with regulation of importing countries. A number of technical papers on HACCP implementation aimed to assist developing countries have been published during this period. Training activities regarding implementation of risk analysis in the fishery sector has been already started (workshops, presentations and studies). These activities in the field of risk analysis are necessary to develop the required expertise to provide developing countries with the proper assistance in view of forthcoming food and fish safety regulations that will include risk analysis elements based on it (e.g. Food Safety Objectives (FSO) and the Precautionary Principle). In addition, regional cooperative programmes have been supported in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean region to address problems of fish and fish product safety of importance for local, inter-regional and external markets. The well-known FAO/DANIDA project on Fish Technology and Quality Assurance that had provided funds for development in this area during 27 years ended in September 1999. Although assistance efforts continue with RP funds, specific TCP and co-operative efforts with Governments, FAO is committed to obtain extra-budgetary funds for an inter-regional project to cover this quick expanding area.
Agenda Items 4 and 12. (COFI/2001/2,10)

R. Research and development of sustainable technologies and practices, Paragraph 76

A. A series of regional workshops on reducing the impact of tropical shrimp trawling fisheries on living marine resources through the adoption of environmentally friendly techniques and practices were held from November 1999 to April 2000 with the financial support of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). An Expert Consultation on the Development of an Aquatic Animal Diversity Information and Communication System will be held in Rome in November 2000. An Expert Consultation on Good Management Practices, Institutional and Legal Arrangements for Sustainable Shrimp Culture will be held in Australia in December 2000.
Agenda Items 4 and 12. (COFI/2001/2, 10)

R. Facilitate the implementation of the three IPOAs, Paragraph 77

A. The International Plans of Action have been published in the five official languages. Guidelines for the management of fishing capacity were elaborated. A Technical Consultation on the Measurement of Fishing Capacity was held in Mexico in November/December 1999 and Guidelines on the Measurement of Fishing Capacity also elaborated. Work was initiated on the identification of factors contributing to over capacity and unsustainability in fisheries. Technical advice was provided to several countries on strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance measures.
Agenda Item 8. (COFI/2001/6)

R. Undertake studies to establish a Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, Paragraph 79

A. An ad hoc meeting of experts (Bangkok, Thailand, February 2000) studied and determined the rationale, formulated the terms of reference and assessed the financial requirements for establishing a Sub-Committee.

Agenda Item 7. (COFI/2001/5, Inf. 8)