05 October 2015, Brasilia — “The Sub-Committee on aquaculture is a unique global forum where aquaculture related matters are debated and strategic plans developed at the highest level by Member countries’ aquaculture authorities from all over the world”, recalled Mr. Jiansan Jia, Deputy Director of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources Management and Conservation Division, when delivering, on behalf of the Department and of the FAO Director-General, Dr. Graziano da Silva, his opening remarks at the 8th Session of the FAO COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, an event that drew together close to 100 delegates from around 50 countries of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe, for five days from 05 to 09 October 2015.
The Government of Brazil is proud of hosting the event. “It is a great honor for Brazil to host and serve as platform for the most relevant discussions and deliberations of the sector”, stated His Excellency Mr. Helder Barbalho, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture who officially opened the Session on behalf of the Government of Brazil.
The role of aquaculture in feeding humanity and ensuring its well-being is unquestionable and still growing. Sharing some of the recent highlights of the sector, Mr. Jia indicated that world aquaculture production has continued to grow, reaching 97 million tonnes with an estimated value of USD157 billion in 2013, producing more than 43 percent of the fish we consume today and generating millions of jobs worldwide, thereby contributing to lifting millions out of poverty while helping them put nutritious food on their tables. At a time where FAO and various partners celebrate the 20th birthday of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries this week in Vigo, Spain, FAO believes that ensuring food security for our growing world population is more important than ever before. The Code provides a solid basis for helping Member countries achieve this goal, pursued Mr. Jia.
The meeting agenda is rich and expectations are high — In addition to two Side Events on “FAO work with partners towards sustainable use, conservation and management of Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture” and on “Biosecurity and Public-Private Sector Partnership; a shared responsibility”, respectively, and one Special Event on “Contribution of aquaculture to food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and national economies: evidence-based experiences”, the meeting will discuss a range of important aspects pertinent to the development of the aquaculture sector, including the implementation of technical guidelines on aquaculture certification and the evaluation framework to assess the conformity of aquaculture certification schemes with the guidelines; aquaculture as part of the Blue Growth Initiative; aquaculture research and education; and the improvement of livelihoods through decent employment.
In a press conference following the kick-off of the event, Minister Barbalho revealed his expectations from the meeting as: “the outcome of this Sub-Committee meeting will serve as a guide for decision making and agreement for the development of the aquaculture nationally, regionally and worldwide”.