SEAFDEC Secretary-General, Ms. Malinee Smithrithee, together with the Special Advisor to SEAFDEC, Mr. Masanami Izumi, and SEAFDEC Senior Policy Officer, Ms. Pattaratjit Kaewnuratchadasorn, took part in the 17th Session of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade of the Committee on Fisheries (17COFI:FT), which was hosted by the Kingdom of Spain and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 25-29 November 2019 in Vigo, Spain. The Session was attended by 100 delegates from 48 member countries of the FAO and observers from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The 17COFI:FT provided the forum for the member countries to review the progress of the international trade of fish and fishery products by FAO and member nations as well as to seek the guidance for future work priorities. The highlights of the Session covered various trade-related topics such as information on markets and trade and networking with FISHINFONetwork, quality and safety of fish and fishery products, small-scale fisheries on value chains, post-harvest operations and trade, FAO guidelines for catch documentation scheme, and ongoing work on food fraud, traceability system, and CITES-related activities. The discussions also included the recent developments in fisheries value chains and link to trade, recent trade agreements and cooperation between FAO, WTO, and other organizations as well as social responsibility in fish value chains, trade in fisheries services, among others.
During the Session, SEAFDEC made the statement including the Southeast Asian regions experiences and commitments. Ms. Malinee highlighted SEAFDEC’s activities on supporting the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) in addressing the global and emerging issues such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, regional cooperation on combating IUU fishing, traceability system, capacity building on the PSM, EAFM, stock assessment for management of transboundary species, and so on. Moreover, she also informed the Session that regional guidelines and management tools for the region had been developed to support the AMSs in implementing the actions to ensure the safety of fish and fishery products as well as legality and prevention of fish and fishery products from IUU fishing across the supply chain. She reiterated that SEAFDEC would continue to work closely with FAO and with other international organizations in assisting the AMSs to achieve the common goal for the sustainable use of fisheries resources and for the well-being of people in Southeast Asia.