Expert Consultation on Catch Documentation Schemes, Rome, Italy, 21-24 July 2015.
The UN General Assembly Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries of 9 December 2013 expresses concern for the continued threat to marine habitats and ecosystems from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, and also acknowledges the negative impact of these activities on food security and state economies, particularly in developing regions. The resolution recognizes FAO's established role in facilitating collaborative development by states of international instruments setting out principles and standards for responsible practices in the management, conservation and development of fisheries. It thus calls on states, inter alia, to initiate within FAO as soon as possible the elaboration of guidelines and other relevant criteria for catch documentation schemes (CDSs). In response to this request, as expressed in paragraph 68 of the resolution, the thirty-first session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) (Rome, 9-13 June 2014) proposed that FAO undertake the elaboration of such guidelines for CDSs, including possible formats, based on the following principles: (a) conformity with the provisions of relevant international law; (b) not create unnecessary barriers to trade; (c) equivalence; (d) risk-based; (e) reliable, simple, clear and transparent; and (f) electronic if possible. The Committee further stipulated that assessment of schemes and formats would include cost-benefit considerations and take into account CDSs already implemented by some Member States and regional fisheries management organizations. The Expert Consultation on Catch Documentation Schemes was subsequently convened by FAO, with the support of Norway, in Rome, 21-24 July 2015. The Consultation was tasked with developing draft voluntary guidelines for catch documentation schemes, in accordance with the above principles, to be submitted for adoption at the thirty-second session of COFI, subject to prior review by the fifteenth session of the COFISub-Committee on Fish Trade (COFI-FT) and further technical consultation processes as deemed appropriate. The draft CDS guidelines, attached as Appendix D of this report, represent the primary output of the Consultation. The content is divided into nine sections, reflecting the structure deemed most appropriate for organizing the content and ensuring inclusion of all necessary components. In order, the sections are: Preamble, Purpose and scope, Objective, Definitions, Principles, Application of basic principles, Special requirements of developing states, CDS recommended standards and functions, and Data requirements/formats.