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FAO Committee on Fisheries to Meet in March

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EU - After two years the Committee on Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will meet in Rome in the first week of March.

On the agenda of its meeting is a series of topics relevant to fishing, including ways of securing sustainable shark catches, protection of sea birds, liberalisation of the market for fish products, aquaculture, deep sea fishing control, support of young fishermen and fight against illegal fishing. The Committee will certainly also touch upon the debate of the FAO reform, which is currently taking place in all forums of this organisation.

Particularly in the past decade the FAO has, as a specialised OSN agency, contributed to the expansion of international agreements or action plans for securing responsible control and conservation of populations of fish, sea mammals and other sea animals. FAO provides guidelines to national and regional fishing organisations on how to include these agreements in their regulations. The Committee on Fisheries ( will not only prepare and discuss new plans but it will also examine how states and organisations progress with the realisation of the current plans. For instance, it will monitor the realisation of two action plans in the EU – regarding sharks and sea birds.

Because all decisions are based on credible data, the action plan is intended to focus on collection of data on fishing, the occurrence of individual shark species and their role in the ecosystem. “The objective is to implement stricter rules for direct shark catches and by-catches, adopt stricter inspection rules and push further the existing ban on the brutal practice when only shark fins are cut off for a famous culinary specialty and the sharks are thrown back into the sea”, explains Minister Gandalovič. “This ban was adopted for most international waters but the standards for its enforcement differ and they are burdened with many exceptions and varying interpretations of regulations.”

The action plan to improve the protection of sharks within as well as outsider of the territorial waters of the EU Member States was published by the Commission in February this year and the Presidency wishes to move this text forward in a significant way. “The Presidency wants to do as much as possible to speed up the debates on the Sharks Action Plan”, stated Minister Gandalovič. “We will submit the text for discussion to the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers in April. Our ambition is to adopt the Council conclusions as well”.