SEAFDEC with support from the Japanese Trust Fund and SEAFDEC-Sweden Project organized the Stakeholders’ Consultation on Regional Cooperation in Sustainable Fisheries Development towards the ASEAN Economic Community: Combating IUU Fishing and Enhancing the Competitiveness of ASEAN Fish and Fisheries Products in Bangkok, Thailand on 1-2 March 2016. The Consultation was attended by representatives from ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries, namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Japan, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam; delegates from the fisheries private sector who included those from: the Marine Conservation Cambodia; Bakoung Commune, Mondul Seyma District, Koh Kong Province, Cambodia; Indonesia Tuna Long Line Associations (ATLI); WWF Indonesia; Myanmar Fisheries Federation; Inter-Island Deep Sea Fishing Association (IDSFA), Philippines; SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc., Philippines; Seafood Industries Association Singapore; Thai Tuna Industry Association; Thai Overseas Fisheries Association Viet Nam Association for Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP); and the Fisheries Society of Binh Thuan Province, Viet Nam; representatives from the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok; the United States Agency for International Development: Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans); as well as participants from the SEAFDEC Secretariat, Training Department, Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department, Aquaculture Department, and Inland Fishery Resources Development and Management Department. The Regional Fisheries Policy Network (RFPN) Members for Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam also attended the Consultation.
Aimed to review the fisheries situation and the emerging issues related to IUU Fishing and competitiveness of ASEAN fish and fisheries products that hinder the suitable development of fisheries in the region, the 2-day Consultation came up with recommendations on the practical steps to be taken towards combating IUU fishing and enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s fish and fisheries products. The adopted recommendations would serve as basis for formulating the draft “Joint ASEAN-SEAFDEC Declaration on Regional Cooperation for Combating IUU Fishing and Enhancing the Competitiveness of ASEAN Fish and Fisheries Products” organized on 3-4 March 2016 also in Bangkok, Thailand.
The draft “Joint Declaration” would be submitted to the SEAFDEC Council and subsequently to the ASEAN for endorsement through the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Fisheries for consideration and endorsement. The draft would then be raised during the High-level Consultation in August 2016 for adoption by the SOM-level officials of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries. Once the necessary high-level policy support and cooperation is obtained from relevant national agencies of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries and the “Joint Declaration” is adopted and signed, this would be used as framework for SEAFDEC and relevant agencies to sustain support for enhancing regional cooperation in sustainable fisheries development. More particularly, SEAFDEC would use this Joint Declaration as basis for developing programs that aim to combat IUU fishing and enhance the competitiveness of the ASEAN fish and fishery products, in the light of the unification of the ASEAN Economic Community integration from 2015 and beyond.