Fisheries Committee ends session with calls to improve fishing management and reduce overfishing

Aquaculture: an increasingly important item on the fisheries agenda

The four-day session of FAO's Committee on Fisheries ended 20 March with wide-ranging recommendations on the future course of fisheries. The 22nd session was attended by 92 members of the Committee, numerous members of FAO and observers from UN, other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

Meeting under the chairmanship of Mr. William Martin of the United States, the Committee took up a variety of topics affecting the fishery sector, including major trends in world fisheries, implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries adopted by the FAO Conference in 1995, strengthening of FAO's Regional Fishery Bodies, trade matters and the Organization's work in fisheries.

In its final report, the Committee stressed:

  • pursuing implementation of the Code of Conduct and disseminating it as widely as possible (in an easier wording for fisherfolk);
  • the importance of compliance with the UN Agreement on Straddling Stock and Highly Migratory Species;
  • the growing importance of aquaculture and the need to protect its environment;
  • the need to address the problem of discards, by-catch and wastes;
  • the strong endorsement for effective organization of regional fishery bodies to manage fish stocks within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;
  • the reaffirmation that FAO and regional fisheries bodies had the mandate for collecting data, formulating research needs and recommending management options, monitoring and surveillance;
  • the need for FAO's Fisheries Department to have enough resources to continue its important programmes in fisheries.

Other salient points in the report included:

  • endorsement of the FAO programme for fisheries of Small Island Developing States and the decision for FAO to proceed with implementing the programme;
  • welcoming various initiatives relating to world fisheries issues such as a technical consultation on Management of Fishing Capacity to be funded and hosted by the United States in 1998; a technical consultation on sustainability indicators related to fisheries that Australia offered to organize with FAO; an expert consultation Canada wishes to host with FAO on sustainable harvesting technologies and practices (reduction of discards and by-catches) as a follow-up to the Kyoto Conference on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Production organized by Japan and FAO in December 1995; Japanese and United States willingness to collaborate with FAO in organizing a meeting on the problems of incidental catch of sea birds.
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24 March 1997


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