Friday, October 14, 2016

14/10/2016: COFI emphasises the importance of aquaculture globally, but still comes up short

by Dr Antonio Garza

The Committee of Fisheries (COFI) is a global event organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) annually at its Rome headquarters, at which all the member countries that belong to this organisation (197) discuss trends, needs and international policies about Fisheries and Aquaculture.

This year ́s event was conducted between July 11-15 with the participation of 108 delegates of member countries, one associate member, 13 observers from member countries and 69 observers of intergovernmental and non-governmental associations, in which the World Aquaculture Society (WAS) is part.
Dr Antonio Garza

In colloquial terms, it is the ‘Babel of the Fisheries and Aquaculture world’ and an extremely interesting experience for all participants.

Today I will try to summarise the most important topics that were discussed and I will share some of my observations.

Aquaculture and food security
During the meeting several countries manifested their consternation about the alarming situation that the fisheries sector is experiencing as the proportion of species that are being overexploited worldwide continues to increase.

The importance of combating illegal fisheries was highlighted. Several countries expressed the need of increasing the technical abilities of FAO and other institutions’ personnel regarding fisheries and aquaculture topics.

A special remark was made about aquaculture surpassing fisheries for the first time in providing seafood for human consumption globally and the increasing importance of the activity regarding food security worldwide.

The importance of the nutritional value of seafood products and its continuous promotion was mentioned. A call was made to all nations to keep working on the reduction of post-harvest wastes, which account to 30 percent of the total production and the elaboration of guidelines to avoid it.

One of the most important topics was the report of the Aquaculture Subcommittee that took place last year in Brasilia, in which the good work of the Advisor Committee for Conservation of Aquatic Genetic Resources was recognised.

The need of making aquaculture production units more efficient, improve capacity building programs and generate well paid jobs in the sector that include women and young people was identified. The relevance of continuing with the development and implementation of guidelines for aquaculture certification was also mentioned.

Read the full article HERE.

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