Sessions organized by the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and the IUCN Fisheries Expert Group at the Fourth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4), La Serena, Chile, 5-8 September 2017.
The Fourth International Congress on Marine Protected Areas (IMPAC4) was organized by the Government of Chile and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and took place on 5-8 September 2017 in La Serena, Chile, bringing together over 1 000 representatives of governments, inter-governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society and local communities. The FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (FAO-RLC) located in Chile, supported the Government of Chile in the organization of the congress. The FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FAO-FIA), based on its longstanding engagement in work on livelihoods, sustainable fisheries and marine protected areas (MPAs), collaborated with the IUCN Fisheries Expert Group (IUCN-CEM-FEG) and hosted two plenary symposia: (i) Protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) in the high seas from bottom fishing impacts, and (ii) MPAs and food security, and a side event on Marine protected areas: Interactions with fishery livelihoods and food security. FAO also had an important presence at the congress through the Latin American Technical Cooperation Network on National Parks, other Protected Areas and Wildlife (REDPARQUES) for which FAO assumes the technical secretariat. The sessions jointly organized by FAO-FIA and the IUCN-CEM-FEG provided opportunities to discuss the important role of regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements (RFMO/As) and scientific research in the spatial management of sustainable fisheries and protection of VMEs in the high seas, and the complexity surrounding the impact of MPAs on food security. Participatory approaches that involve fishers and local communities are fundamental to ensure positive benefits of MPAs to the environment and the fishing communities.