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SEAFDEC convenes the 49th Meeting of its Council in Brunei Darussalam

At the kind invitation of Government of Brunei Darussalam, the 49th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council was convened in Bandar Seri Begawan from 3 to 7 April 2017 and hosted by the Department of Fisheries of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei Darussalam.

In attendance at the Meeting were the Council Directors and delegations from the SEAFDEC Member Countries, namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, as well as officials of SEAFDEC Secretariat and Departments, and collaborating agencies. The Inaugural Ceremony of the 49th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council was held on 3 April and presided over by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei Darussalam, Dr. Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin. During the Opening Ceremonies, the pilot testing activity on the electronic ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme (eACDS) in Brunei Darussalam was launched. The Meeting unanimously elected the Council Director for Brunei Darussalam, Mr. Abdul Halidi Bin Mohd. Salleh as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for the Year 2017-2018, succeeding Dr. Tran Dinh Luan, SEAFDEC Council Director for Viet Nam who served as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for the year 2016-2017.

The Council noted the great progress and achievements of SEAFDEC in 2016, and approved the proposed program of activities for 2017. The Council discussed the issues related to combating IUU fishing that are important for the sustainable development of fisheries in the region that requires greater attention and cooperation. These included the progress of implementation of the ASEAN Guidelines for Preventing the Entry of Fish and Fishery Products from IUU Fishing Activities into the Supply Chain, Regional Fishing Vessels Record, ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme, Regional Cooperation for Supporting the Implementation of Port State Measures in ASEAN Region, and Regional Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity, as tools for combating IUU fishing.

On issues related to the Regional Common Position on CITES-related matters, the possibility of setting-up the Technical Fisheries Working Group to work closely with AEG-CITES was raised for consultation with the ASEAN Secretariat. SEAFDEC will also continue to work and consult with ASEAN Secretariat to explore the appropriate platform for addressing the issues on labor in fisheries sectors in the ASEAN. The Council took note of the new US Seafood Traceability Programs, including the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the US Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP).

The Council supported the regional cooperation to promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the ASEAN region, that include the Regional Plan of Action on Sustainable Utilization of Neritic Tunas, scientific based Policy Recommendation and Management Measures for kawakawa (Euthynnus affinis) and longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol), Conservation and Management of Tropical Anguillid Eel Resources, Regional Policy Recommendation for Development and Use of Alternative Dietary Ingredients in Aquaculture Feed Formulations: Establishment of the Regional Database of Alternative Feed Ingredients in Aquaculture.

The Council noted the proposal to conduct the ASEAN Regional Technical Consultation on Aquatic Emergency Preparedness and Response System for Effective Management of Transboundary Disease Outbreaks in Southeast Asia, as well as the results of the discussion on the Regional Approaches for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries.

On the issues from the national actions based on the 11 key actions of the “Joint ASEAN-SEAFDEC Declaration on Regional Cooperation for Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Enhancing the Competitiveness of ASEAN Fish and Fishery Products”, which was supported by the 38th AMAF, SEAFDEC was asked to come up with new regional activities that would lead to stronger efforts by the Member Countries in combating IUU fishing and enhancing the competitiveness of fish and fishery products.

The “Southeast Asian State of Fisheries and Aquaculture” or SEASOFIA was approved for printing and subsequent dissemination, while the proposals for “Establishment of Regional Repository Center for Marine Fisheries”, and for seeking funding support for “Monitoring Methodologies for the Resources of Inland Fisheries and Freshwater Aquaculture” from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), were approved. The Council also supported the conduct of a special event for the 50th Anniversary of SEAFDEC, which would be organized in Bangkok, Thailand on 15 November 2017.

The Council recognized the close cooperation between SEAFDEC and regional/international collaborating agencies/organizations in undertaking activities that address the priorities of countries towards sustainable development of fisheries in Southeast Asia.

At the closing of the 49th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council, the Council extended its appreciation to the Government and the people of Brunei Darussalam for the excellent hosting of the Meeting and the warm hospitality accorded to the Council throughout the event. The Council then announced that the 50th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council in 2018 would be hosted by Cambodia.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Mariani Haji Sabtu, SEAFDEC National Coordinator for Brunei Darussalam: mariani.sabtu@mprt.gov.bn; or

Ms. Nualanong Tongdee, Information Program Coordinator, SEAFDEC Secretariat, Thailand: nual@seafdec.org.