COFI Day 2: IMCS Report

Dear Colleagues,

Discussion continued today regarding the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. As proposed by the Chair, it was agreed to address with agenda items 6, 7, and 8 with the inclusion of an evening session. Agenda point 9 (Ocean governance and outcomes RIO +20) will be dealt with on Wednesday after finishing the above agenda points.

Point 6: Progress implementation of CCRF and related instruments.

Canada recalled the 1992 Rio declaration which paved the way for the adoption of both the Code of Conduct of Responsible Fishing (CCRF) and the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of UNCLOS relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. These acts introduced, amongst other things, the principle of sustainability to fisheries governance. The Rio declaration coincided with the ban on cod fishing on the Grand Banks, however 20 years after, Canada could not forecast when the stocks would recover.

At the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rio declaration, FAO proceeded to an evaluation of the implementation of the CCRF. The CCRF, adopted in 1995, is a voluntary code containing the principles and standards on conservation, management and development of all fisheries and encompasses: capture, processing and trade of fish and fish products. Its implementation has been facilitated by the adoption of four international action plans (IPOA’s: Seabirds, Sharks, Capacity and IUU).

Last year, the FAO circulated a questionnaire to States and RFMO’s regarding their perspectives on the CCRF. Representatives of several States criticised the low return rate of the questionnaire and the review process. Many felt that the process should be redone.

A large majority of States support the CCRF in its current state whilst some expressed the wish to update the current text (terminology and adjustment to new instruments).

Senegal, South Africa, Mauritania and others drew the attention to Act 5 CCRF (support to developing countries) and urged FAO to do more to implement fully this article. Representatives of Bangladesh and South Africa welcomed the cooperation between FAO, ILO and IMO focusing on safety on board of fishing vessels and decent working and living conditions on board and expressed interest in the possibility of joint controls of labour, maritime and fisheries requirements.

One example of international cooperation that was detailed yesterday was an interaction between Liberia and Mozambique to combat IUU. Liberia referred to investigations of illegal fishing in its waters including the tracking of a suspected vessel along the African coast up to Mozambique. On the request of Liberia, Mozambique intervened by withdrawing the licence of the vessel but as Liberia did not supply the necessary details on the case within 72 hours, the vessel was released. However, Mozambique took measures avoiding a repetition. Liberia felt that the 72-hour limit was not realistic for developing countries.  Liberia concluded that the cooperative attitude by Mozambique was exemplary.

Representatives of several States underlined the importance of RFMO’s and felt that RFMO’s should take more initiative to participate in the CCRF survey.

The USA planned to convene workshops on making the most of fisheries dependent data (collection and use) as well as by-catches of marine mammals and possible measures to reduce by-catches; it called on experts from all over the world to participate to these workshops. The results will be made available to COFI.

Point 7: Decisions and recommendations of the 13th session of the COFI-Sub-Committee on Fish Trade.

A clear majority of States endorsed the report of the above meeting and agreed with its recommendations (new evaluation framework as well as FAO input in the CITES process). It was commonly agreed that the primary objective of eco-labeling and traceability should be the fight against IUU fishing. Parties shared some diverging views on how to implement eco-labeling and traceability; to be based on gap/risk analysis whilst others expressed concerns on possible obstacles for access to markets.

Point 8: Decisions and Recommendations of the 6th session of the COFI-Sub Committee on aquaculture.

The discussion under this point did not focus on MCS issues.

Wednesday we launch our Stop IUU Fishing Award in the new Sheikh Zayed Media Centre in the FAO Atrium. In addition the IUU session should begin Wednesday afternoon. We’ll bring you all the news from the day. Please email us with any questions you may have at