At the kind invitation of the Government and people of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the 48th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council was held in the magnificent city of Nha Trang, Viet Nam from 4 to 8 April 2016 and hosted by the Directorate of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam. Situated in the South Central Coast, a capital of Khanh Hoa Province, Nha Trang is widely considered as among cities with the world’s most beautiful bays excellent for scuba diving and also for its seafood delicacies that make this city an attractive destination for international tourists contributing to its economic development.
In attendance at the Meeting were the Council Directors and their delegations from 11 Member Countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The Inaugural Ceremony of the 48th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council was held on 4 April and presided over by His Excellency Mr. Vu Van Tam, the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Nguyet, the Deputy Director-General of Directorate of Fisheries, Viet Nam, and Mr. Dao Cong Thien, the Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee. The Meeting unanimously elected the Council Director for Viet Nam, Mr. Nguyen Viet Manh as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for the Year 2016-2017, succeeding Dr. Wimol Jantrarotai, SEAFDEC Council Director for Thailand who served as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for the year 2015-2016.
While noting the progress and achievements made by SEAFDEC in 2015, the SEAFDEC Council approved the proposed program of activities to be undertaken in 2016, taking into consideration the range of issues that are important for the sustainable development fisheries and require greater attention and cooperation among the countries in the region.
On combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, the Council noted the progress in the implementation of the “ASEAN Guidelines to Prevent the Entry of Fish and Fishery Products from IUU Fishing Activities into the Supply Chain,” the use of the “Regional Fishing Vessels Record (RFVR) for vessels 24 meters in length and over” as one of the tools for combating IUU fishing, as well as the plan for pilot implementation of the “ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme for Marine Capture Fisheries.” The Council also provided recommendations toward the development of the “Regional Cooperation for Supporting the Implementation of Port State Measures in ASEAN Region,” and the “Regional Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity (RPOA-Capacity)” prior to their submission for consideration by the forthcoming 24th Meeting of the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Fisheries (ASWGFi). Furthermore, the Council also observed the establishment of bilateral and sub-regional technical cooperation to address transboundary issues including combating IUU fishing that pose a challenge to the neighboring countries.
On the activities related to labor aspects, the Council expressed support to the development of the “ASEAN Guidelines on Implementation of Labor Standards for the Fisheries Sector” that takes into consideration the nature of small-scale fisheries in the region. On the requirement of “U.S. Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud,” the ASEAN Member States were urged to send their common voice on the Proposed Rule for at-risk species to the U.S. Government through their embassies by 12 April 2016.
With regards to the policy recommendations for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the Council noted the progress made by SEAFDEC in the implementation of regional policy recommendations, namely the “Regional Plan of Action on Sustainable of Neritic Tunas,” the “Regional Policy Recommendations on Conservation and Management of the Eel Resources and Promotion of Sustainable Aquaculture,” and the “Regional Policy Recommendations for Development and Use of Alternative Dietary Ingredients in Aquaculture Feed Formulations.”
The Council also approved the Policy Recommendations on Addressing Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) and Other Trans-boundary Diseases in Aquaculture,” and the “Policy Recommendations and Strategic Plans for the Implementation of Fisheries Resources Enhancement Activities in the Southeast Asian Region” for implementation by SEAFDEC and the Member Countries. The Council also endorsed the “Regional Guidelines on Traceability System for Aquaculture Products in the ASEAN Region” for further consideration by the ASWGFi and high-level authority of ASEAN as appropriate. In addition, in addressing the importance and securing the sustainability of small-scale fisheries, the Council expressed support to the development of regional approach to put into practice the “Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Alleviation.”
As for the preparation for the High-level Consultation on Regional Cooperation in Sustainable Fisheries Development Toward the ASEAN Economic Community” to be hosted by the Government of Thailand under the theme of “Combating IUU Fishing and Enhancing the Competitiveness of ASEAN Fish and Fishery Products,” the Council approved the Draft “Joint ASEAN-SEAFDEC Declaration” in principle and asked for further refinements before submission for consideration by the ASWGFi and subsequent adoption by the Senior Officials in the High-level Consultation, scheduled on 3 August 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
On the publication of the “Southeast Asian State of Fisheries and Aquaculture” or SEASOFIA that contains packaged data and information that reflects the fisheries situation of the Southeast Asian region and is to be published in 2017, the Council agreed on the outline of the publication. The Council also supported the conduct of a special event for the 50th Anniversary of SEAFDEC, which would be organized in Thailand with the generous hospitality offered by the Government of Thailand.
The Council recognized the close cooperation between SEAFDEC and regional/international partner agencies/organizations in undertaking activities that address the priorities of countries towards sustainable development of fisheries in Southeast Asia.
The Council expressed their appreciation to the Government and the people of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam for the excellent hosting of the Meeting and the warm hospitality accorded to them throughout the event, and announced that its 49th Meeting in 2017 would be hosted by Brunei Darussalam.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Nguyen Thi Trang Nhung, SEAFDEC National Coordinator for Viet Nam: email@example.com; or
Ms. Nualanong Tongdee, Information Program Coordinator a.i., SEAFDEC Secretariat, Thailand: firstname.lastname@example.org.