At the kind invitation of the Government of Thailand, the Forty-seventh Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council was held from 31 March to 3 April 2015 and hosted by the Department of Fisheries of Thailand. Situated in the northernmost province of Thailand, Chiang Rai has historical structures that depict a very unique culture.
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. The Inaugural Ceremony of the 47th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council was held on 31 March and presided over by Dr. Wimol Jantrarotai, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The Meeting unanimously elected the Council Director for Thailand, Dr. Joompol Sanguansin as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for the Year 2015-2016, succeeding Mr. Lee Kwong Weng, SEAFDEC Council Director for Singapore who served as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for the year 2014-2015, succeeded by Dr. Tan Lee Kim.
The Council noted the good progress and achievements of SEAFDEC in 2014, and approved the proposed program of activities to be undertaken by SEAFDEC in 2015, which have been formulated taking into consideration the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Resolution and Plan of Action on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region Towards 2020 adopted by the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Ministers and Senior Officials in June 2011. The Council appreciated the establishment of Inland Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (IFRDMD) as the fifth SEAFDEC Department to promote sustainable development and management of inland fishery resources in Southeast Asia.
The Council provided directives on important issues, particularly on the implementation of CITES-related activities especially on improving data collection on sharks and rays, as well as the regional approach to be developed by SEAFDEC for the Southeast Asian region and the preparation for the upcoming CITES COP-17 in October 2016. On the ASEAN Guidelines for Preventing the Entry of Fish and Fishery Products from IUU Fishing Activities into the Supply Chain, the Council approved the Guidelines in principle.
The Council noted the progress on the development of the “Regional Fishing Vessels Record (RFVR) for Vessels 24 meters in Length and Over” and agreed to launch the RFVR Database although some countries need to review and update their data as inputs into the database. The Council foresees that the development of the RFVR would enhance cooperation among the Member Countries. As the next step of activity, SEAFDEC was requested to conduct study on the legality of vessels moving across borders of the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) taking into account the experiences of other RFMOs and regions in the world.
On the ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme (ACDS) which would serve as one of the fisheries management tools for combating IUU fishing and enhance international and intra-regional trade of fish and fishery products from the AMSs, the Draft ACDS had been circulated to the Member Countries in early 2015. The Council suggested that SEAFDEC should convene a stakeholders’ consultation in order to ensure the applicability of the ACDS in the region and communicate with the importing markets to ensure its acceptance. With regards to the implementation of the Port State Measures (PSM), the Council supported the plan to conduct of a regional workshop, and SEAFDEC was requested to consider extending technical assistance and capacity building activities relevant to the implementation of the PSM in the AMSs. The Council also extended the appreciation to the Government of Singapore for supporting the conduct of the training course on vessels inspection on 5-9 January 2015, and encouraged similar training course to be conducted in the future with involvement of wider groups of participants.
Considering regional cooperation to promote fisheries and aquaculture in ASEAN region, the Council endorsed the Regional Plan of Action on Sustainable Utilization of Neritic Tunas (RPOA-Neritic Tunas) in the ASEAN Region and the TORs of the Scientific Working Group on Neritic Tuna Stock Assessment. The Council also endorsed the Regional Policy Recommendations on Conservation and Management of the Eel Resources and Promotion of Sustainable Eel Aquaculture to enable SEAFDEC and concerned agencies of the respective countries to conduct activities on eel resources conservation in the future. In addition, the Council endorsed in principle the Policy Recommendations for Development and Use of Alternative Dietary Ingredients in Aquaculture Feed Formulations, and requested AQD to conduct technical works as well as compile necessary information on this aspect to serve as basis for countries in the region to develop strategies to reduce dependence of fish-based materials as ingredients in aquaculture feeds. Moreover, the Council took note of the progress on the development of the Regional Plan of Action for Management of Fishing Capacity (RPOA-Capacity) which aims to serve as guide for development of NPOA-Capacity, enhance regional cooperation, sustain fisheries resources in managing shared stocks in the region as well as develop a mechanism to improve management of fishing capacity in the region.
On the proposed Concept Note for the conduct of High-level Consultation on Regional Cooperation in Sustainable Fisheries Development Towards the ASEAN Economic Community 2015: Combating IUU Fishing and Enhancing the Competitiveness of ASEAN Fish and Fishery Products proposed by SEAFDEC, the Council endorsed in principle the proposed Concept Note, and requested SEAFDEC to conduct regional technical consultation(s) prior to the stakeholders’ consultation while the conduct of the High-level Consultation should be postponed to 2016. While supporting the Concept Note on Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) in view of its objectives in achieving the well-being in ecology, humans and good governance, the Council requested SEAFDEC to support the Member Countries in the selection of appropriate demonstration sites for the implementation of the EAFM and looked forward to seeing SEAFDEC as the leader in the conduct of training course on EAFM in the Member Countries.
The Council witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) and SEAFDEC on 3 April 2015, to promote sustainable fisheries in the coral triangle area especially on conservation and management of fishery resources, R&D, human resources development, consultancy, information management, and networking.
At the closing of the 47th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council, the Council extended its appreciation to the Government of Thailand for the excellent hosting of the Meeting and the warm hospitality accorded to the Council throughout the event. The Council then announced that the 48th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council in 2016 would be hosted by Viet Nam.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Malinee Smithrithee, SEAFDEC National Coordinator for Thailand: firstname.lastname@example.org ; or
Ms. Nualanong Tongdee, Information Program Coordinator, SEAFDEC Secretariat, Thailand: email@example.com.