The SEAFDEC Secretary-General, Ms. Malinee Smithrithee, Policy and Program Coordinator, Dr. Worawit Wanchana, and Senior Policy Officer, Ms. Pattaratjit Kaewnuratchadasorn, attended the 19th Session of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade (19COFI:FT), which was organized on 11–15 September 2023 in Bergen, Norway at the kind invitation of the Norwegian Government. The 19COFI:FT was participated by the delegates from FAO members, representatives from the United Nations and specialized organizations, and observers from intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations including SEAFDEC.
The discussions at the 19COFI:FT encompassed comprehensive international issues related to fish trade that bridged topics including food safety in connection with market access for aquatic products, trade and market access considerations for small-scale fisheries, fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, implementation of Port States Measures (PSM), traceability, catch documentation scheme (CDS) as well as biodiversity conservation and international trade. The 19COFI:FT also explored recent agreements and international instruments pertaining to trade, such as WTO Fisheries Subsidies, Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ Treaty), FAO Guidelines for Sustainable Aquaculture, FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment, among others.
During the 19COFI:FT, SEAFDEC expressed its commitment and provided updates on its activities aimed at supporting the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) in addressing global fish trade-related issues, notably combatting IUU fishing and implementing regional capacity-building programs on fish stock assessment and the PSM Agreement, among others. Furthermore, SEAFDEC emphasized its dedication to working closely with FAO and other international organizations to assist the AMSs in achieving their objectives for the sustainable utilization of fishery resources and the well-being of the people in Southeast Asia.