COFI: Day One

July 9, 2012

Dear MCS Colleagues,

We are reporting from the first day of the 30th session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) meeting held at the FAO in Rome, Italy. The opening session presented the 2012 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report (SOFIA), and continued with a discussion of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing. The discussion of IUU and MCS capacity had a central place in the remarks of the majority of speakers on the floor throughout the day.

SOFIA is the most influential global document describing developments in fisheries and aquaculture. In general the report highlights, amongst other topics, the ever-growing importance of aquaculture and the profession of seafood for human consumption on the world markets. Capture fisheries accounted for 77.4 million tones of global production, while aquaculture reported a new record of almost 60 million tones.  The report is based on statistics supplied by the member states of FAO.

According to the report, action is needed to promote sustainable fisheries. The proper application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing should be evaluated in all fisheries and regions. Russia requested to include annually a section in the report on IUU fishing. Mozambique, Ghana, and Brazil called for continued FAO work on IUU fishing.

Coastal, flag, and port states have to apply many international obligations including in relation to fishing actives conducted by foreign vessels. States have to ensure the collection of reliable statistics on fishing activities and carrying out monitoring, control and surveillance activities ensuring compliance. The reality is that the means necessary to ensure compliance are not available in many places. Therefore Senegal, Mozambique, Angola, and Seychelles requested assistance in building MCS capacity. Representatives of several states in the Indian Ocean referred to the threat of piracy to fisheries.

Other noteworthy events include a call from both Sierra Leone and Seychelles for increased coastal and flag state responsibility for IUU and capacity for fisheries management.  Additionally, Mozambique supported by Chile, noting the importance of discussions among RFMOs.

In exciting news for the Network, OSPESCA has agreed to host the next Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop in 2013. We hope to see many of you there, and look forward to working with OSPESCA on making a successful conference.

Tuesday the session on IUU fishing will be opened, and we’ll be taking careful notes of the conversation. We’ll be reporting to you after the session, please email us with any questions you may have at