09 October 2015, Brasilia –“It has been an honour for me personally and for Brazil as a country to hold this major global event with the important mission to harmonize actions towards a more sustainable and responsible world aquaculture” summarized Brazilian Chairperson Rodrigo Roubach. The adoption of the report with major recommendations for global aquaculture development marked the closing of the 8th Session of the FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) Sub-Committee on Aquaculture which was held in the capital of Brazil from 05 to 09 October 2015, attended by 100 delegates from around 50 countries of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe which represent the vast majority of aquaculture producers worldwide.
“The Sub-Committee unanimously agreed on priorities for its future agenda, in line with FAO’s Strategic Objectives and the FAO Blue Growth Initiative. Fittingly, this is happening at a time when we celebrate 20 years of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which provides a common framework” stated Matthias Halwart, Secretary of the Sub-Committee.
The meeting debated a range of important aspects pertinent to the development of the aquaculture sector. The Sub-Committee supported the efforts of FAO in developing the Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification and the Evaluation Framework to assess the conformity of aquaculture certification schemes with the guidelines. On FAO’s Blue Growth Initiative, it highlighted inter alia the positive effects from aquaculture on the environment such as through shellfish and seaweed farming and requested to increase the number of participating countries in the piloting phase. The Sub-Committee emphasized resource use efficiency in aquaculture for food and nutrition security as a key focus area, recognizing that research and education needs may vary from region to region. It suggested that issues on decent employment could be dealt with by the FAO aquaculture certification guidelines. Strong support was expressed to improve aquaculture data, information and statistics compiled by FAO, including the need to integrate the data collected from the first State of the World Report on Aquatic Genetic Resources into FAO’s fisheries and aquaculture information systems. Regarding aquaculture’s contribution to food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and national economies, the Sub-Committee recommended that FAO continue its work in this area and provide information on good farming practices, how to assess aquaculture’s contribution to food and nutritional security, and its impact on policy development.
In closing, the FAO Representative of Brazil, Mr. Alan Bojanic, stressed the relevance of the recommendations at global as well as at local level: “Brazil is rich and diverse when it comes to aquatic resources and the national development of the aquaculture sector will benefit from the important conclusions of this Sub-Committee”.
Mr Hossein Ali Abdolhay, elected Chairperson of the forthcoming 9th Session of the Sub-Committee, welcomed delegates and observers to the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2017.