Committee on Fisheries


Committee on Fisheries, COFI36

Thirty-sixth session, 8-12 July 2024

FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

The Committee on Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the FAO Council, was established by the FAO Conference in 1965.

It is the only global inter-governmental forum where FAO Members meet to consider the issues related to fisheries and aquaculture.

COFI is a unique body in that it provides periodic global recommendations and policy advice to governments, regional fishery bodies, civil society organizations, and actors from the private sector and international community.

The Committee has fostered the development and adoption of several binding agreements as well as non-binding instruments that have reshaped how the sector works in the interests of resource sustainability and biodiversity conservation.

COFI36 will focus on the vital role of fisheries and aquaculture in tackling food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty, stressing their ability to alleviate hunger, drive sustainable growth, and reverse environmental degradation.

The FAO's flagship State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report for 2024 will provide a comprehensive overview of sector trends and projections. It will demonstrate how Blue Transformation is already fostering sustainable growth in aquaculture, improving effectiveness in fisheries management, and raising standards across value chains.

Key outcomes from COFI sub-Committees

During the session, the main outcomes reached during the previous session of its sub-committees on Aquaculture, Fisheries Management and Trade will be presented.

The Guidelines for Sustainable Aquaculture, already endorsed during the 12th session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, will be reviewed for final endorsement, aiming to harness the sector's potential to sustainably meet the growing global demand for aquatic foods.

Methodological updates to the FAO's State of Stocks Index, endorsed during the first session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fisheries Management, will also be deliberated and undergo final review for endorsement.

Work and steps required for the finalization of the FAO Guidance on Social Responsibility in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Value Chains  will also be discussed. The first section of the guidance document, focusing on the fishing industry, was discussed during the 19th session of the COFI sub-committee on trade.

Addressing global challenges in aquatic food systems

Topics for discussion include the role of aquatic foods in global food security and nutrition, their potential as a solution to climate change, and the contribution of effective management to long-term biodiversity goals. Additionally, solutions and actions to address pressing challenges confronting aquatic food systems, such as climate change and plastic pollution, will be explored.

Central to the discussion will be efforts to enhance data collection and analysis for informed fisheries management, urging countries to strengthen data-driven policy making. The session will present the first results of FishMIP 2.0, a global initiative forecasting the impact of climate change on future marine ecosystems and fisheries under different scenarios that support the formulation of climate-resilient food security policies.

Biodiversity conservation will feature prominently during the discussions, with a call to delegates to discuss the implications of the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework on fisheries and aquaculture in both large marine ecosystems and in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

A high-level event, marking the tenth anniversary of the endorsement of the Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), will highlight the critical contributions of small-scale fishers and fish farmers to food security, nutrition and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries.

COFI Sub-Committees
Key global meeting of fisheries and aquaculture policymakers and experts tackles range of issues

The 36th Session of COFI had more than 960 participants, almost 700 of whom were present in person, representing 110 COFI Members including the European Union, 21 COFI country observers, and 84 organizations.

COFI 36 adopts Guidelines for Sustainable Aquaculture

Adopted by Members, the GSA now inform the programmatic work of FAO in implementing the FAO' Blue Transformation roadmap, ensuring that all aquaculture projects and programmes are pulling in the same direction.

Climate risks projected to affect fish biomass around the world's ocean, FAO report says

New projections highlight potential climate risks to exploitable fish biomass for nearly all regions of the world's ocean, including top producer countries and those with high reliance on aquatic foods.

Global meeting focuses on fisheries and aquaculture’s vital role in tackling food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty

The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) is the largest global gathering of policymakers, experts and partners in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

COFI36 Photo gallery

Check out the COFI36 Photo Gallery to see the events and activities from the 36th session of the Committee.

Blue Transformation – A vision for resilient, equitable and sustainable aquatic food systems