Twenty-fourth Session

Rome, Italy, 26 February - 2 March 2001


4. The Meeting discussed the following substantive agenda items:

· Review of some external factors that may impact on the work of regional fishery bodies and fisheries management;

· Indicators to assess the performance of regional fishery bodies;

· Cooperation in global trends and status reporting in fisheries;

· Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing;

· Developments in CITES criteria for listing commercially-exploited aquatic resources;

· Opportunities and challenges for coordinated activities on ecosystem-based management of fisheries; and

· Topics/areas for discussion at the Third Meeting.

5. The Meeting:

i) noted with satisfaction the good cooperation that was developing between some RFBs and a number of Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs), as well as the strengthening of cooperation among RFBs since its First Meeting. In this respect, it took note of the meeting of scientists of tuna management organizations that was held in Phuket, Thailand, in March 2000, and the meeting of scientists of salmon commissions (NASCO, IBSFC, and NPAFC), planned for March 2002, in Vancouver, Canada;

ii) pointed out that many RFBs had special committees that dealt with environmental issues and acknowledged that with the rapid development of new information technology, it was conceivable that RFBs could build on their strengths and successes to date and begin to explore the extent to which they could take a wider range of external factors into account in their advisory/regulatory functions;

iii) while supporting in principle the need to develop performance indicators and related guidelines, stressed that, in view of the diverse nature (in terms of mandate, species coverage, economic situation of members, governance systems, etc.) of RFBs, it was difficult to establish indicators which were generally applicable to all of RFBs;

iv) was of the view that evaluation of performane was a matter for RFBs themselves, that it might enhance performance, and that the general definition of an indicator framework for RFBs was quite complex. The Meeting pointed out that the issue needed to be given more thought within the respective RFBs and suggested that the results of this thought be further discussed at subsequent meetings;

v) recognized that there were increasing demands for transparent processes for the analysis and dissemination of information on status and trends at the national, regional and global levels;

vi) saw merit in the concept of an IPOA on status and trends reporting and suggested that the draft of the IPOA-STATUS&TRENDS be carefully considered;

vii) acknowledged that IUU fishing was a widespread international issue that impacted the work of management organizations and expressed support for the draft IPOA, noting that it should ultimately reduce and eventually eliminate the incidence of IUU fishing;

viii) recognized the differences in incidence and scope of IUU fishing between high seas and inshore fisheries and between marine and coastal and inland capture fisheries;

ix) did not express an unanimous view about the effects subsidies could have on the sustainability of fishery resources and, in that context, on IUU fishing;

x) expressed its concern about the difficulties associated with delisting of species once they had been placed on an Appendix of CITES and agreed that suitable criteria and a process should be developed to ensure timely delisting when a species had recovered sufficiently to justify this;

xi) felt the need to have both effective criteria and an effective process in making decisions on listing and delisting, but that it would probably be impossible to develop criteria that would be suitable for all species and that an effective scientific evaluation process would also be required.;

xii) suggested that communication within the parties involved in issues related to fisheries in CITES should be improved and that RFBs should, as much as possible, be consulted in the work of CITES, particularly for those species falling under their jurisdiction, including species taken as by-catch;

xiii) agreed for the need for closer collaboration between RFBs and RSCs and also agreed that the document concerning opportunities and challenges for coordination of activities relevant to ecosystem-based fisheries management between RSCs and RFBs elaborated by FAO and UNEP be updated;

xiv) agreed that the issues concerning external factors affecting the management of fisheries and indicators to assess the performance of RFBs be reviewed at the Third Meeting;

xv) agreed to change the title of the Meeting of FAO and Non-FAO Regional Fishery Bodies or Arrangements to "Meeting of Regional Fishery Bodies".

6. The full report of this meeting will be published in the FAO Fisheries Reports series.