Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission

Report of the Thirty-sixth Session of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC)

Category Meeting Reports and texts

This document is the edited version of the report adopted by the 36th session of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) convened at a virtual session in Bangkok, Thailand from 5 to 7 May 2021. It was hosted by the Department of Fisheries, Government of Thailand and attended by 53 registered delegates from 17 APFIC member countries, three non-APFIC FAO members and 8 observer regional organizations.

The Commission reviewed the intersessional programme activities of APFIC and endorsed the report of the meeting of the 77th APFIC Executive Committee. The Commission commended the work of the Secretariat and the technical support provided by FAO to APFIC member countries over the biennium. In particular, the Commission appreciated FAO’s support for initiatives to develop capacity and strengthen regional cooperation in support of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and combating of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the region and requested continued support under the Technical Cooperation Programme. The Commission requested the APFIC Secretariat to continue to provide resource persons to technical meetings and workshops. The Commission emphasized the importance of training for reporting on SDG14b and continued work on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in aquaculture.

The Commission noted that the importance of Asia as a globally important fish producer required APFIC members to have a strong voice in international fora such as FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and its technical committees and to contribute to the development of international guidelines such as the FAO Guidelines on Sustainable Aquaculture (GSA).

The Commission concurred that there is a clear case for increasing access to knowledge and skills in sustainable aquaculture production practices. The Commission agreed on the importance of the FAO Aquaculture Platform and welcomed this initiative. Several APFIC regional partners offered their support to the initiative.

The Commission emphasized the importance of fishery management grounded on science for sustainable marine and inland fisheries. It acknowledged the challenges related to lack of adequate capacity for conducting stock assessment and analyses and welcomed the development of an FAO initiative for capacity development to improve stock assessment for marine and inland applications.

The Commission recognized the importance of APFIC as a regionally focused platform and requested broader discussions and consultations among members related to APFIC’s future. The Commission agreed that the use of a virtual approach could be used for other workshops and events of the Commission, with consideration of devising a hybrid format in the future and recommended the development of rules of procedure to ensure effective outcomes of virtual format workshops and decision-making events. It requested further information on the potential for establishment of APFIC subcommittees for subregional arrangements and the possibility and implications of setting up a multi donor/multicountry Trust Fund to support the Commission. Noting the complex set of issues relating to the Commission and its functions, the Commission recommended the creation of an ad hoc working group to be better informed of the legal and financial implications of the future of APFIC. It further recommended that the results of the working group be discussed at the 78th Executive Committee Meeting.

The Commission endorsed the 2021–2023 biennial APFIC work plan with an amendment to include the establishment of a working group to look at addressing the limitations and the future of the Commission. The Commission elected the People’s Republic of China (Chair) and Thailand (Vice-chair) as the office bearers for the 37th session, with India, Malaysia and the Philippines elected as Members of the Executive Committee. The Commission agreed that the 37th session of APFIC will be convened in China in 2023.