Data loading...

FAO Code Of Conduct For Responsible Fisheries Has No Reliable Tracking Or Data

The Committee of Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the FAO Council, had its 28th meeting in Rome between 2nd and 6th of March. The first item discussed was the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and, again, the lack of data left the Committee uncertain whether or not countries are following the Code.

According to Chief and Secretary of COFI, Dr. N’Diaga Gueye, even though tuna management issues were not specifically addressed at the meeting, the implementation of the Code of Conduct includes tuna fisheries as well:

“We do not know for instance why countries that were requested to report what they are doing are not answering. Every 3 years we send a questionnaire to the countries about what they are doing to implement the code. We had a very low response this year, the Committee expressed its disappointment and it was agreed that we need more work – not only from FAO, but from the RFMOs as well – to put the Code into practice”, stated Dr. Gueye.

COFI ask sending another request for countries to provide the necessary information and it’s trying to improve the reporting system, but cannot associate the submission of data to trade sanctions.

Dr. Gueye believes that FAO should assist countries in terms of training, capacity building, organizing fishing inspections services to provide better data, but affirms that only the countries can decide if the non implementation of the Code will lead to economic sanctions.

“Maybe there are countries that are implementing the Code of Conduct, but they didn’t respond the questionnaire, so we cannot tell how the current situation is”, he added.  

FAO Code of Conduct was adopted by the Organization in 1995. It sets out principles and international standards of behavior for responsible practices with a view to ensuring the effective conservation, management and development of living aquatic resources, with due respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity. Eco-certificates, such as Friend of the Sea, consider “follow FAO Code of Conduct” essential criteria to receive its certification.