The Committee on Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the FAO Council, presently constitutes the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined and recommendations are addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fishworkers, FAO and the international community. COFI has also been used as a forum for the negotiation of global agreements and non-binding instruments.
During its Thirtieth Session the Committee recommended increased support for countries in data collection and quality control, expressed strong support for the standards and norms of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its related instruments, and agreed on the development of best practice guidelines for traceability. It requested FAO to develop a conformity assessment framework for aquaculture certification guidelines, address the issue of hydrocarbon deposits in the oceans and assess possible threats arising from their development. The Committee called for continuous consultation with all stakeholders in the development of the International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries and agreed on the need to develop related implementation strategies.
The Committee also agreed that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing continues to be a persistent and pressing problem adversely impacting on sustainable fisheries and food security. It further agreed that FAO should focus on challenges relevant to its core mandate and must join efforts with partners in better coordination. It therefore urged FAO to ensure that fisheries and aquaculture priorities were reflected under the Strategic Objectives.