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News :: Fisheries: FAO-COFI session in Rome takes important steps in the fight against IUU fishing and to support small scale fisheries

Fisheries: FAO-COFI session in Rome takes important steps in the fight against IUU fishing and to support small scale fisheries

(16/06/2014) The 31st FAO COFI took place in Rome from 9 to 13 June 2014. The session was attended by 116 Members and 73 intergovernmental and international NGOs.

The EU welcomes the adoption of the voluntary guidelines on securing sustainable small scale fisheries, as well as the endorsement by COFI of the voluntary guidelines on flag state performance criteria. It also notes with satisfaction that there was broad support for the establishment of Global Register, including the use of the IMO number as unique vessel identifier for phase 1 of the register. Both the flag state performance criteria and the Global Register are important tools for the fight against IUU fishing.

The usefulness of catch documentation schemes in combatting IUU fishing was equally underlined and COFI agreed on an expert consultation to develop guidelines for catch documentation schemes based on existing schemes as strongly supported by the EU. COFI decided also continue work for the establishment of  guidelines on tracebility and the  monitoring of eco-labeling schemes, looking in particular at their effects on fisheries management and on economic returns.

On aquaculture, COFI recognized the importance of aquaculture for food security and nutrition and asked FAO to continue technical assistance to developing countries. The EU welcomes COFI's approval of the Evaluation Framework for assessing conformity of public and private certifications schemes with the FAO guidelines on aquaculture certification.

COFI also addressed the issue of bycatch management and reduction of discards and requested FAO to continue its efforts to effectively implement the International Guidelines on Bycatch and Reduction of Discards and to look into ways to better address the problem of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG).

Finally, the importance of safety at sea was highlighted, including by the EU, and reference was made to the importance of the ILO convention 188 and the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on the implementation of the provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993.